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Apr 3, 2021 at 8.30pm UK
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
Real SociedadReal Sociedad

Garcia (35'), Martinez (62')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Oyarzabal (63' pen.)
Merino (71')

Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Copa del Rey clash between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The long-awaited 2020 Copa del Rey final will see Marcelino's galvanised Athletic Bilbao side come up against their Basque rivals, Real Sociedad, who have been thriving under the stewardship of Imanol Alguacil this season.

The result of this postponed cup final is all the more important for Athletic, who, in unprecedented circumstances, will play Barcelona in the 2021 Copa del Rey final in just a few weeks time, meaning the Basque heavyweights could potentially win the competition twice in one month, or perhaps even lose it twice.

Match preview

In what has already been a fantastic season for Athletic in many ways, the image of Asier Villalibre celebrating the club's Spanish Super Cup win by playing the trumpet for his teammates is still very much fresh in the minds of many lovers of the game.

The idea that Villalibre could still potentially reach for that iconic trumpet twice more this season is something that Athletic will no doubt be extremely excited about.

Yet, winning two finals in two weeks is a rare thing indeed and Athletic will likely be taking each final as it comes.

Athletic come into this game on the back of a fine vein of form, having lost just one of their last eight La Liga games.

Against Eibar last time out in La Liga, Marcelino's men were unlucky not to come away with all three points, with his side registering over three times as many shots as their Basque opponents.

In order to win this match, Marcelino will certainly be looking at all the usual suspects at his disposal, with Inaki Williams, Iker Muniain and Raul Garcia all very capable of showing up on big occasions.

Unlike their Basque rivals, Alguacil's La Real have just the one shot at glory and will no doubt be looking to capitalise on their moment in the spotlight.

In what has been a transformative season for both Athletic and La Real, Alguacil's men weathered a protracted blip in form in the middle of the campaign and only returned to winning ways in February.

However, recent performances in La Liga have not been great from the team and La Real come into this game on the back of a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Barcelona, something those at the club will probably be keen to put behind them.

On the whole, La Real have enjoyed a stellar campaign so far and managed to get the better of their Basque rivals when they beat Athletic 1-0 back in late December.

Real Sociedad Copa del Rey form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Real Sociedad form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

All the heavy-hitters will be available for selection this weekend for Marcelino, who has very few injury concerns to contend with.

It is unlikely that Marcelino's starting 11 will be too different from the one that played Eibar last time out in the league.

One absentee for Athletic is midfielder Oier, who is currently injured.

Alguacil has had trouble with injuries for much of the season and, while there are still a number of players sidelined for this tie, all first-team regulars are available for this weekend.

Absentees include Jon Guridi, Joseba Zaldua, Miguel Angel Moya, Jon Pacheco, Sola and Luca Sangalli.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Alex Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Munoz; Silva, Illarramendi, Merino; Januzaj, Isak, Oyarzabal

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; De Marcos, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; Alex Berenguer, Lopez, Vesga, Muniain; Gercia, Williams

We say: Real Sociedad 1-2 Athletic Bilbao

This is a really interesting encounter because, despite La Real's superior league position, it is worth arguing that Athletic, under Marcelino's stewardship, have actually been the better side in recent times. Athletic just know their way around a final and we think they have the brass to pull this off.

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