Barca vs Sevilla pre-match package: latest team news, probable line-ups, score predictions & more
Spanish Supercup: Barcelona vs Sevilla, 10:00 pm CEST, August 12 Sunday, Stade Ibn Batouta, Tangier, Morocco
Latest team news
Lionel Messi is expected to make his first appearance after the World Cup in Russia while Malcom and Arthur Melo could both make their debuts in the domestic league while it would be a bit too early for Arturo Vidal. Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti are unlikely to play due to their late arrivals from the extended holidays.
Two players are definitely out: Denis Suarez is injured, Sergi Roberto is suspended.
Key players Fran Vazquez, Jesus Navas, Gabriel Mercado and Roque Mesa are expected to start after being rested earlier this week for the Europa League qualifier. The newcomers Tomas Vaclik and Joris Gnagnon could make their debuts in the domestic championship.
One player is a huge doubt: Nico Pareja has a muscle strain.
7 stats you need to know ahead of today's clash via Barca19Stats on Twitter
- Barcelona will take part in the Supercopa for the 4th year in a row. The record is held also by Barcelona with 5 consecutive participations, set twice: 1990-1994 and 2009-2013.
- Of their past four meetings in the Super Cup, Barca have won three and Sevilla have won one (3-1) which was on 14th August 2010 but Barca won the trophy subsequently due to a 4-0 win in the second leg.
- Barcelona took/take part in 9 of the last 10 Supercopa editions (including today's).
- Barca's biggest win against Sevilla in the Super Cup came on 21st August 2010 in a 4-0 win. Goalscorers were: Abdoulay Konko (OG) 14'; Lionel Messi (hattrick) 25' 43' 90+1'
- Leo Messi in finals: 29 appearances, 28 goals and 14 assists.
- Leo Messi vs Sevilla: 33 appearances, 31 goals and 14 assists.
Barcelona in the Supercopa (current version):
Took part in 23 editions (all-time record)
Won 12 titles (all-time record)
Scored 74 goals (all-time record)
As per Andy West of RealSport: 'Barcelona could call upon their star players for the first time this season with new skipper Lionel Messi and fellow forward Luis Suarez among the many who missed the pre-season tour of North America following their World Cup exertions.'
'Training sessions this week saw Valverde practice with a 4-3-3 formation with Messi on the right wing and Ousmane Dembele on the left but it remains to be seen whether that approach will be employed in Tangier on Sunday.'
'Sevilla boss Machin rested several key players for the Europa League meeting with Zalgiris and the likes of Fran Vazquez, Jesus Navas, Gabriel Mercado and Roque Mesa could all be drafted into the starting eleven. Nico Pareja is a doubt with a muscle strain.'
'One thing which will not change, however, is the team’s formation: Machin is set upon implementing the 3-4-3 shape which delivered so much success at his former club Girona. This game, then, marks an important step in the familiarisation process for coach and players alike. '
Gianni Verschueren of Bleacher Report: Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona
'Things should be more evenly matched this time around, with Sevilla already in fine form, but if a few of their starters sit out, Barcelona should still cruise.'
Andy West of RealSport: Sevilla 1-3 Barcelona
'With the team selections for both teams very much uncertain, it’s difficult to make a confident prediction for the first piece of silverware of the Spanish season. However, Barcelona certainly possess far more attacking firepower than Sevilla and romped to a 5-0 win with Messi, Suarez and Coutinho all superb in April’s cup final. Even if they don’t start, the quality of attacking options at Valverde’s disposal should be enough to secure a comfortable win.'
Renato Goncalves of BarcaBlaugranes: Sevilla 1-4 Barcelona
'It’s really hard to know if the World Cup stars will be in good shape, but I trust them to crush Sevilla like they did in the Copa del Rey Final: 4-1 to the Catalan Kings of Spain.'
Key battle: Tomas Vaclik vs Lionel Messi (by Andy West of RealSport)
'Sevilla allowed long-standing first choice keeper Sergio Rico to join Fulham on loan ahead of Thursday’s Premier League transfer deadline, showing that coach Machin has full faith in summer signing Vaclik, who has been recruited from Basel for a fee believed to be in the region of €7 million.'
'Vaclik is a seasoned performer with 20 international caps for the Czech Republic and a similar number of Champions League appearances during his four seasons with Basel. But something he has never done before is arguably the most difficult task for any goalkeeper: facing Lionel Messi.'
Messi in finals: 29 apperances, 28 goals and 14 assists.— J. (@Messilizer) August 6, 2018
Messi vs Sevilla: 33 apps, 31 goals and 14 assists.
First game to kick off the season? A final, against Sevilla. You know what that means? Expect magic.
'Barcelona’s captain will be raring to go as he prepares for his first taste of action since suffering World Cup elimination at the hands of France six weeks ago and, although it’s uncertain whether he’ll be selected to start, the iconic star will surely see playing time at some stage.'
'Ominously for Vaclik, Messi has a fantastic record against Sevilla, netting 31 goals in his previous 33 games against the Andalusians.'
Main quotes from coaches
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde believes the one-legged Supercopa game is more difficult, also noting that his opponents are 'better prepared'. He says as quoted by Football Espana: “The fact that the Supercopa is a single game makes it a little more open and difficult. Sevilla will be more prepared because they’ve been competing for two weeks, while we’ve come from a tour and some of the lads have joined up later."
Still, Blaugrana coach remains optimistic and hopes to see the talented youngsters, Riqui Puig and Juan Miranda playing tonight: “Miranda is with us, but performances will dictate who will be in the squad. As for Riqui Puig, my idea hasn’t changed because of the media noise, not at all. He has rhythm and great qualities, but everything needs time."
Sevilla coach Pablo Machin, meanwhile, describes his opponents as 'the specialists at finals'. He states, as quoted by Marca: "Clearly Barcelona are a great side, a specialist at finals and they have a lot of the best players in the world but this is one of the few sports where an inferior side can beat one that is better so we have our chances."