Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao: Team News, Predicted Lineups, Live Stream, TV Info

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMay 30, 2015

The last time these two teams met at Camp Nou, both teams played in their away strips, the colours of their respective regions.
The last time these two teams met at Camp Nou, both teams played in their away strips, the colours of their respective regions.Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona go into the Copa Del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao in the unusual position of playing on their home pitch.

Camp Nou was decided as the venue after Real Madrid President Florentino Perez refused to give both clubs permission to play the match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

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Madrid say no' to the idea of hosting the Copa del Rey final at the Bernabéu!!! ✊👍💪 #realmadrid #as #final #copadel… http://t.co/ViVSj6BCzz

Having half of the stadium full of away fans will be an almost unique experience for most of the Barca players, who are used to playing host to just a few hundred visiting supporters sat up in the gods in the top tier of this cavernous football amphitheatre.

Luis Enrique and his team can secure the double with a win.
Luis Enrique and his team can secure the double with a win.Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Luis Enrique will hope to win the trophy to secure a league and cup double in his first season and also give his team a shot at the treble, with the Champions League final vs. Juventus just one week away.

Ernesto Valverde and his side will happily play party poopers, and should the Blaugrana not approach this match in a professional manner, Athletic have the staff to cause an upset here.

Barca only need to study the performance of Los Leones when they beat Real Madrid 1-0 at the New San Mames to understand what they are capable of.

We could see demonstrations again in front of the King of Spain.
We could see demonstrations again in front of the King of Spain.Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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With a worldwide audience watching on, expect this match to start with incessant booing of the Spanish national anthem as the King of Spain takes his seat. 

Close to 100,000 Catalan and Basque supporters in the stadium are no fans of the Spanish royals and will seek to ram home their political aspirations whenever possible. 

Date: Saturday, May 30

Time: 8:30 p.m. BST/3:30 p.m. ET

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

TV Info: Sky Sports 5/ESPN 2 (USA only)

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK only)

Form Lines

Last 6 Results
BarcelonaAthletic Club
D 2-2 vs. Deportivo La CorunaW 4-0 vs. Villarreal
W 1-0 vs. Atletico MadridW 3-2 vs. Elche
L 2-3 vs. Bayern MunichD 1-1 vs. Deportivo La Coruna
W 2-0 vs. Real SociedadD 0-0 vs. Atletico Madrid
W 3-0 vs. Bayern Munich
D 1-1 vs. Real Sociedad
W 8-0 vs. CordobaW 1-0 vs. Cordoba



Predicted Formations 

Barcelona's predicted Copa del Rey Final lineup.
Barcelona's predicted Copa del Rey Final lineup.B/R Formation Builder.

Athletic Bilbao have just got to go for it at Camp Nou. Not by abandoning their principles but if they need to assert their authority throughout.  

This is the third time in six years that these teams have met in the final and Los Leones were comprehensively beaten in the other two.

Barcelona need to keep doing what they have done all season and not allow Bilbao to settle.

Their natural 4-3-3 formation will again be met by an attacking 4-2-3-1 from Valverde, who does have the staff to trouble Barca.

Overwhelming favourites the Catalans may be, but this is far from a foregone conclusion.

Mikel Rico, Andoni Iraola and Inaki Williams will play a support role to lone front man Aritz Aduriz. 

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If Barca are unable to contain Aduriz, then they must at least mop up all of the second balls that the centre-forward will expertly knock down to his colleagues.

Gerard Pique will be partnered by Javier Mascherano with Jordi Alba and Dani Alves in what is likely to be his final Camp Nou appearance making up the defensive quartet in front of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Ander Iturraspe and Benat are tasked with protecting their back line from the crisp pin-point passing of Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta.

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Sergio Busquets reprises his usual holding role and will try and make life as difficult as possible for the inexperienced Williams.

Luis Suarez will be fit to start as Barca's front three look to score the two goals that will make them the most successful front three in Spanish football history over the course of a season.

As it is, Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi have already scored more league goals than 93 of the 97 other teams in the top five leagues in European football. That's frankly preposterous.

Squawka Football @Squawka

Messi, Suarez and Neymar have scored a total of 81 league goals this season, more than 93 of the 97 other clubs in Europe's top 5 leagues.

Aymeric Laporte should relish the opportunity of pitting himself against the best, but he will need to be ably supported by Mikel San Jose, Oscar Da Marcos and Mikel Balenziaga.

Luis Suarez could be the thorn in the side of Athletic's defence.
Luis Suarez could be the thorn in the side of Athletic's defence.Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

Concede early and need to chase the game, we could end up seeing Barca's front three pick off their opponents as they did in the 5-2 thumping earlier in the campaign.

Iago Herrerin has been keeping Gorka Iraizoz out of the side and should keep his place here.

Player to Watch

Absolutely no doubt that the danger man for Athletic Club is centre-forward Aritz Aduriz.

A real old-school type of player, he will not give Barcelona's back line a moment's peace. At 34 years of age, he is enjoying something of an Indian summer to his career and is in the form of his life.

His headed goal against Real Madrid earlier in the season was sensational.

A goal, an assist and a workhorse display in a man-of-the-match performance in the final-day annihilation of Villarreal showed he has lost none of his prowess in and around the box.

There will likely be a few industrial challenges to deal with, and if he isn't tightly marked throughout the 90 minutes, he could well be the match winner here.

Key Battle 

Inaki Williams is making a name for himself in the Basque country.
Inaki Williams is making a name for himself in the Basque country.Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Inaki Williams has made a real name for himself in this, his breakout season for Athletic.

Although his form has tailed off slightly since he burst on to the scene at the turn of the year, 20-year-old Williams remains an exciting and energetic central midfielder.

A goal and an assist in the final two games of the league season will have given the youngster some confidence, and Sergio Busquets will need to be wary of William's effervescence in and around the penalty area.

Williams will buzz about in the hole just behind Aduriz, seeking space between the lines to bring the wide men into play.

If Busquets can close him down quickly, a lack of experience at this level could see his influence wane over the course of the game.


The following pre-match odds are available, per Oddschecker:

Barcelona Win: 1/4

Athletic Bilbao Win: 14/1

Draw: 6/1

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