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Copa Del Rey 2014: Breaking Down Wednesday's Biggest Matchups

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 09: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF strikes the ball during the Copa del Rey Round of 8 first match between Real Madrid and CA Osasuna at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 9, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2014

The latter stages of this season's Copa del Rey will have begun to take shape after this week's matchups, with six quarter-final places still unaccounted for.

Racing Santander and Atletico Madrid have already made it into the last eight, but some of Spain's brightest talents remain in the running to book their spots on Wednesday.

With four fixtures on the schedule, we've broken down some of the clutch encounters, with clubs from both La Liga extremities out in action.

 

Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Betis (First Leg: 0-1)

Real Betis have the opportunity to make the Copa del Rey's quarter-finals for the second consecutive season on Wednesday, the competition providing cheerful distraction for what's otherwise been a sorry domestic campaign.

Juan Carlos Garrido can't be the sole man at blame for his side being rooted to the bottom of La Liga considering he inherited the team from the axed Pepe Mel in December, but Los Verdiblancos now head to Basque country with a great chance at something more.

BILBAO, SPAIN - DECEMBER 01: Athletic Club fans wave scarves during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Their 1-0 lead is at great risk, however, when one considers that Athletic Bilbao are currently fourth in the Spanish top flight and have, as usual, been a particularly stubborn beast when playing at San Mames.

A lot will rest on exactly how much of his resources Ernesto Valverde is willing to throw into the second leg, but considering his team have already beat Betis 2-1 at home in September, the Athletic boss will likely field a line-up at full strength.

 

Levante vs. Rayo Vallecano (First Leg: 0-0)

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 09:   Aloys Nong (L) of Levante UD battles for the ball against Alejandro Galvez of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid during the Copa del Rey Round of 16, 1st Leg match between Rayo Vallecano and Levante UD at Campo de Futbol de Vallecas st
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

A 2-1 win at Rayo Vallecano provided Levante with their first win of the 2013-14 La Liga campaign, so it's safe to say that Joaquin Caparros feels he has the tools at hand necessary to beating Wednesday's opponents once again.

Rayo failed to take full advantage of their home field last week, but the Madrid outfit will be further aback on the form guide for their advantage.

That's because Paco Jemez's men have triumphed on each of their last two league trips to Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, winning 3-2 back in May, more than a year after their 5-3 triumph at the ground in February 2012.

Levante's mid-table position suggests they may now have the goods to overcome their relegation-threatened opponent on this occasion, but recent results may suggest that an underdog victory is at hand.

 

Osasuna vs. Real Madrid (First Leg: 0-2)

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 09:  Goalkeeper Iker Casillas poses on the line up with his teammates prior to start the Copa del Rey Round of 8 first match between Real Madrid and CA Osasuna at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 9, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Pho
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid headline Wednesday's action, and Carlo Ancelotti has the option of resting a few players for the trip to Pamplona after seeing his side win their first-leg encounter with Osasuna 2-0.

Despite the deficit, Osasuna goalkeeper Asier Riesgo says that his side can, however, recover, according to Inside Spanish Football:

Two days after winning the 2013 Ballon d'Or, Cristiano Ronaldo may not be around to feature against Osasuna, 13th in La Liga, but Los Merengues will still be able to call upon a wealth of star talent from their deep reserves.

The likes of Jese, Alvaro Morata and Casemiro can be expected to get some time on the pitch as Real look to ease their way through to the next round, the hosts facing a nigh unbeatable uphill struggle.

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