Barcelona take on La Liga counterparts, Sevilla, in the second consecutive all-Spanish UEFA Super Cup final on Tuesday night.
This tie is a rematch of the 2006 UEFA Super Cup, in which Sevilla came away victorious, following a 3-0 victory.
Barcelona are favourites however after an outstanding 2014-2015 season in which they completed the treble, winning the League, Copa del Rey and Champions League in Luis Enrique’s first season in charge.
The Catalans hope to replicate that form with a win against Sevilla in Tbilisi, Georgia. With all key players excluding Neymar fit, the Spanish giants have their strongest side and are expected to cruise to a comfortable victory against the injury hit Europa League winners.
Manager Unai Emery will be forced to field a considerably weakened defence. As well as this, they have sold two of their star players from the side that defended the Europa League last season – Carlos Bacca and Aleix Vidal. This leaves the underdogs with a mammoth task to overcome the Catalans and come away with a win.
However, Sevilla will be encouraged with Barcelona’s poor pre-season form in which they lost three of their five games.
Both teams have extensive experience of the UEFA Super Cup. This is Barca’s ninth final, having won four and lost four – their last success coming in 2009.
If they triumph in this year’s match it would put them on par with AC Milan’s record of five wins. The Red and Whites have played in three previous finals, only managing to win one; defeating this year’s opponents in 2006. Sevilla also featured in last year’s Super Cup, but were beaten 2-0 by another Spanish side, Real Madrid.
Enrique will be without crucial first-team player Jordi Alba and star man Neymar for tomorrow night’s clash, with the latter missing for three weeks after contracting mumps, with Jeremy Mathieu and Pedro expected to provide cover.
Sevilla have a lengthy list of injuries, most notably their favoured centre-back choices – Adil Rami, Daniel Carrico and Timothee Kolodziejczak. Couple this with the departure of Bacca and Vidal and things aren’t looking too good. However, new signing Ciro Immobile is fit to play and will give them a boost.
Last Meeting: Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona (April 11, 2015)
Key Men: Barcelona – Lionel Messi; Sevilla – Ever Banega
Shoot Says: Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla