For Barcelona, advancing to the Copa del Rey semifinals is about as guaranteed as it gets. Barcelona already hold a 4-1 lead over Levante and will be hosting the second leg, so Levante will essentially need a miracle—or whatever is even more improbable than a miracle—to advance.
Just how huge is that deficit?
Well, for starters Barcelona have yet to lose at home. And they've yet to lose by more than one goal. And in La Liga play, Levante have a goal differential of minus-eight.
So yes, Barcelona will move on to the semis. But there is a match to be played nonetheless, so let's break it down.
When: Wednesday, January 29 at 4 p.m. ET
Wednesday, January 29 at 9 p.m. GMT
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Life at Barcelona has been more about putting out fires off the pitch than anything happening on it these days, what with Sandro Rosell stepping down last week as the club's president amidst a lawsuit in regard to the Neymar signing over the summer.
But with all of that drama dying off a bit, manager Gerardo Martino is hoping the focus can return to football. His comments, via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
Tomorrow is a good way to show that we just focus on football. If we can have our fans just talking about football, about what happens on the pitch, that would be much better. For me these are institutional matters, I prefer to stay away from them. I am just happy to be able to have Neymar here, happy that he plays for Barcelona.
According to that report, Andres Iniesta could make his return for the Catalans—he's missed much of January—while Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves won't play. Carles Puyol, Martin Montoya and Alex Song will be in the squad, however.
It would hardly be shocking if Barcelona gave some of the reserves a run, given their stranglehold on this tie after the first leg.
Meanwhile, if you take away the loss to Barcelona, Levante haven't lost in five of their six other January matches, so they aren't coming into this match in poor form. But against Barcelona—even against the Barcelona reserves, potentially—anything less than great won't cut it.
This is a foregone conclusion, so the only question is how close Levante can make this match. Odds are, not very close at all. The Catalans simply don't lose at home, and even when they do lose, they don't get blown out.
Levante will give it a fighter's chance, but the knockout seems imminent. They're akin to Glassy Joe from Punch-Out!! picking a fight with Mike Tyson in his prime (or at least they are in Camp Nou). Barcelona win, 3-0.
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