Apr 21, 2018 at 8.30pm UK at ​Estadio Wanda Metropolitano

Mercado (34'), Escudero (38'), Vazquez (74')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Suarez (14', 40'), Messi (31'), Iniesta (52'), Coutinho (69' pen.)
Iniesta (67'), Busquets (74')

Preview: Sevilla vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Copa del Rey final action as Barcelona take on Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.

Barcelona take on Sevilla in the final of the Copa del Rey at the Wanda Metropolitano aiming to further their ambitions of claiming a domestic double under Ernesto Valverde's stewardship.

Vincenzo Montella's Sevilla have been regular foes for Barcelona in 21st century finals, and the club will be hoping to earn their first Copa crown since 2010 by beating the favourites in the Spanish capital.


Steven N'Zonzi in action for Sevilla in September 2017© Offside

Montella's charges have shown themselves to be more than competent on big stages this term, having eliminated Manchester United from the Champions League before being knocked out by slender margins at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Sevilla outclassed United at Old Trafford to produce a 2-1 victory in Manchester that caused serious implications for Jose Mourinho and his rebuilding project in England.

Domestically, Sevilla have not quite lived up to expectation and are sitting in seventh spot in the standings, although the club have lost a number of key players to bigger European moves in recent years.

Much like in the Champions League, domestic tournament football has proven a real fillip for Montella. During the club's Copa run, Sevilla produced two memorable performances against Atletico Madrid during the quarter-finals.

Los Rojiblancos first won 2-1 away at the Wanda Metropolitano, before claiming another standout 3-1 win over Diego Simeone's men at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Success in the competition has now moved Sevilla into their 17th final in all competitions in the 21st century.

Barca have often proven to be a thorn in the side of Sevilla and the clubs will now be meeting in a final together for the sixth time since the year 2000. Should Barca wrap up the league title this term, the sides will then meet again in the Supercopa de Espana.

Sevilla frustrated Barcelona in a 2-2 draw at home during March, but Montella's men are in the middle of a frustrating run that has seen them winless in five games across all competitions, drawing their last three. Sevilla have not won since beating United. The club's last La Liga win came at the start of March at home to Athletic Bilbao.

The club are coming into the final having endured a frustrating goalless draw against relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna, although Montella did rest some crucial faces, including Pablo Sarabia and Luis Muriel, ahead of the Saturday's showpiece.

Recent form: LLDLDD
Recent form (all competitions): DLLDDD


Ernesto Valverde takes Barcelona training on February 19, 2018© Offside

A remarkable season under Valverde has just started to fray for Barcelona, who head into the Copa del Rey final off the back of some tepid showings.

The Catalan club have largely shown remarkable consistency to all but wrap up the La Liga title with a 12-point gap over Atletico Madrid, but an exit from the Champions League has left a sizeable blemish on Valverde's first campaign as coach.

Central to Barca's problems of late has been their defending, where Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Jordi Alba have looked sluggish in recent contests. The defenders have been ever-present for Blaugrana this season but are just starting to show signs of fatigue.

Valverde has proven reticent to rotate for much of this season and that might help to explain Barca's outlandish defeat to Roma in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The soon-to-be league champions were dumped out after losing 3-0 away at the Rome club, despite building a 4-1 advantage in the first leg in Catalonia.

A drop in pressure has been the point of focus for much of the Spanish media following a run that has seen Barca concede 10 goals in their last six outings. Prior to that, Barcelona had conceded just 11 in 24 matches. All things considered, though, the Catalan side remain unbeaten in a record that now stretches to 40 La Liga matches following their draw with Celta Vigo on Tuesday.

Dropping out of Europe's elite competition from a seemingly safe position will surely haunt Barca for the rest of the term, although it is easy to forget that Valverde has the chance to secure a domestic double during his first season at the helm of Barca.

One standout issue for the club in recent months has been the absence of midfielder dynamo Sergio Busquets, who had been missing through injury up until recently. With Busquets out, Ivan Rakitic had been asked to reconfigure his role as a holding midfielder and that seemed to slightly hinder the side's fluidity in front of the defence.

For other clubs two trophies would be something to celebrate, but the partisan nature of Barcelona means that this potential domestic double now remains a bare minimum after a shock Champions League exit.

For many a trip to a final is a day of celebration, but when Barca head to the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night they will enter the contest knowing that victory will be a standard necessity for the travelling Catalonian support.

Recent form: WWDWWD
Recent form (all competitions): DWWLWD

Team News

Lionel Messi pictured in February 2018© Offside

Rakitic should return from a broken finger, while Busquets, Paulinho and Andres Iniesta will give Valverde plenty of other options in the middle.

The Barca coach rested a number of key players on Tuesday against Celta, leaving it probable that Pique, Umtiti, Lionel Messi and Alba will all return for the final.

As for Sevilla, Muriel should return in attack with further support coming from Sarabia, Joaquin Correa and Franco Vazquez.

Ever Banega, who has enjoyed some standout form of late, should sit in a holding pair alongside Steven N'Zonzi.

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Soria; Navas, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero; Banega, N'Zonzi; Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa; Muriel

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Paulinho, Iniesta, Coutinho; Suarez, Messi

Head To Head

The two sides have met twice already this term. The clubs drew 2-2 in Sevilla earlier in March, which followed on from a 2-1 Barcelona win at the Camp Nou in November of last year.

Sevilla have found it tough going against the Catalonians in recent years and have been unable to win any of their last six meetings against Barcelona. The Blaugrana have won five and drawn one of those previous matchups.

Barcelona have collected a monumental haul of Copa del Rey trophies, having picked 29 since first winning during the 1909-1910 season. Los Nervionenses have won the cup five times, last securing the crown in 2010.

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We say: Sevilla 1-3 Barcelona

Barcelona have come in for some slight criticism of late, especially after their Champions League exit, but the club now find themselves unbeaten in 40 league fixtures. It also cannot be ignored that Barca are undefeated in 33 of their last 35 Copa del Rey contests.

Barca have looked tired lately, but Valverde's decision to rest a number of key men against Celta should see the club look more like their high-intensity selves come Saturday evening. The political motivations of the Catalan club visiting and potentially winning in Madrid cannot be ignored either.

This run to the final has seen Sevilla produce seven wins in their last eight games in the tournament, and Montella will be hoping that his side can correct some problematic form against Barcelona on a memorable domestic stage.

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Who will win Saturday's Copa del Rey final clash between Sevilla and Barcelona?

Ivan Rakitic in action for Barcelona on February 20, 2018
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