MX23RW : Friday, March 5 13:51:56| >> :120:58815:58815:
Apr 16, 2014 at 8.30pm UK at Estadio de Mestalla
Barcelona
1-2
Real Madrid
Bartra (69')
FT(HT: 0-1)
di Maria (11'), Bale (85')

Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Mestalla.

The third and final Clasico of the 2013-14 campaign will take place on Wednesday evening when Barcelona meet Real Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey at the Mestalla in Valencia.

Barcelona, who are 26-time winners of the Spanish Cup, last won the competition in 2012, while Madrid, who lost to Atletico Madrid in the final last season, have won the trophy on 18 occasions.

The two sides have already met twice in La Liga this season, with Barcelona winners on both occasions. The Catalan outfit secured a 2-1 victory over Los Blancos at the Camp Nou last October, before winning 4-3 in that famous match at the Bernabeu just last month.

It has not been plain sailing for Barcelona in recent weeks, however. They exited the quarter-finals of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid last week and enter the match off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Granada in the league at the weekend - with that loss seeing them drop to third in the table.

The current Spanish champions remain in the hunt for a domestic double, but head coach Gerardo Martino has faced huge criticism this season for a perceived change of playing style, while Lionel Messi has also drawn criticism for his lack of effort in the last few matches.

Madrid, meanwhile, secured their spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League last week despite losing 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund in Germany. Carlo Ancelotti's side were also 4-0 winners over Almeria in the league at the weekend, with that result moving them above Barcelona and into second. As it stands, they are three points behind leaders Atletico in Spain's top division.

Back-to-back defeats last month ended a long unbeaten run for Los Blancos, but the capital outfit have returned to form in recent weeks, winning four of their last five in all competitions, scoring 16 times in the process and conceding just twice.

The last time the two sides met in the final of this competition was in 2011, with that particular clash also held at the Mestalla. It was Madrid that were victorious in extra-time following a strike from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona still have problems in defence due to the absence of Gerard Pique, but one from Carlos Puyol and Marc Bartra should be fit to partner Javier Mascherano in central defence.

Martino is also expected to make changes in attack, with Pedro pushing for a start in a front three that is likely to include Messi and Neymar. Xavi is another that is expected to return after surprisingly sitting out the defeat to Granada at the weekend.

Madrid, meanwhile, are expected to be without the services of Ronaldo, who has a thigh injury, despite Ancelotti suggesting that his leading scorer could yet make the clash. Sami Khedira and Marcelo also remain on the sidelines, but Dani Carvajal and Xabi Alonso should return to the XI after missing the Almeria clash due to suspension.

The probable loss of Ronaldo also opens up a spot in the middle of midfield, with Asier Illarramendi expected to be preferred to the more attack-minded Isco. Angel di Maria, meanwhile, will start alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in a three-pronged attack.

Recent form

Barcelona: WDWLL

Real Madrid: WWWLW

Possible starting lineups

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao; Modric, Alonso, Illarra; Di Maria, Benzema, Bale

Barcelona: Pinto; Alves, Mascherano, Bartra, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Neymar, Messi, Sanchez

Sports Mole says: Real Madrid on penalties

ID:149890:cQx:QQ:

Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Granada's Yacine Brahimi celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Barcelona during the La Liga match on April 12, 2014
Read Next:
Match Analysis: Granada 1-0 Barcelona
>
Latest Sports Video
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free daily transfer newsletter! Sent twice a day during the transfer window.

rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico MadridAtletico24184247163158
2Barcelona25165455223353
3Real Madrid25165443202353
4Sevilla24153634181648
5Real Sociedad25119542212142
6Real Betis25123103338-539
7Villarreal2581343327637
8Granada2596103142-1133
9Levante2571173534132
10Athletic Bilbao2486103428630
11Celta Vigo257993037-730
12Osasuna2577112333-1028
13Getafe2576122030-1027
14Valencia2569103035-527
15CadizCadiz2567122141-2025
16AlavesAlaves2557132039-1922
17EibarEibar25410112028-822
18Real Valladolid25410112336-1322
19ElcheElche2449112136-1521
20Huesca25311112236-1420

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!