Barça and Athletic spot an oasis

Two teams with a year to forget hope to heal with the Spanish Super Cup. The doubt of Leo Messi marks the previous one. Marcelino wants the feat of winning a title.


Lost in a desert crossing that lasts too long and it is not clear where it leads, two lost teams dream that they have found the right path and spot an oasis in Seville. On the Island of La Cartuja tonight Barcelona and Athletic Club will play the final of the Super Cup (21 hours Let's go) to heal their wounds. The oasis does not admit water for both. Only one can quench his thirst after a penance of months. Both need a triumph that in other circumstances would seem minor, but that today is mana in the desert. Until arriving here, players, technicians and presidents of both entities have fallen along the way. All those crises can be forgotten if the ball goes in tonight. The Super Cup is not a title to justify a government work, but it can fix it in times of lack. And the two finalists need that award that is awarded today in Seville (follow the game live on .

Let's start with Barcelona, whose journey through the desert began precisely a year ago in Saudi Arabia, when they fell in the Super Cup against Atlético. At that time, Valverde's team was leader of LaLiga, but they lost that semifinal and from then on a series of catastrophic misfortunes ensued in which Barça, faced with a bad or worse decision, always opted for the bad one. From that Super Cup he went to look for Setién after Xavi said no, with Pochettino they did not dare and Koeman could not. The crossing of the desert that began in Arabia lived its critical moment in Lisbon with the 2-8 and the attempt to abandon Messi's caravan. Now, exhausted, wounded and thirsty, the Barcelona fans see in Seville a well where they can regain strength.

Pride and Athletic. On the opposite path that leads to the oasis, Athletic also arrives having suffered their own. He is still hoping to play a Cup final (in which he eliminated Barcelona to get there, by the way) which must have been historic against Real Sociedad, but first he must play the Super Cup.

He reaches this final conscious of his problems, but with his pride repaired. He has left Real Madrid by the wayside in the semifinal against all odds and has arguments to believe that the oasis may be his. Marcelino failed against Barça in his debut, but he had been in office for 48 hours and Messi made the party bitter. Today, it will weigh more that it was the coach who won the last Cup final against Barça (precisely, in Seville) than his record against the Barcelona fans, who by the way, are pending on Messi.

The participation of the Argentine, Athletic's hammer so many times, in the game is a mystery that, as Koeman said, Leo himself will solve at the last minute, but nobody is going to take away the illusion of giving a second bell from the Lions.

In fact, Barcelona reached the final more through the work and grace of Ter Stegen than anything else. After a cardiac semifinal against Real Sociedad, it was the German who decided the Blaugrana fate with a fabulous performance. Assuming that Messi will be on the bench, more as a threat or as a recourse to desperation than anything else, the line-up expected by Koeman will be very similar to the one that beat Real Sociedad. The only novelty would be the return of Sergiño Dest to the right back instead of Mingueza.

At Athletic Club, the doubts are more in the players' ability to recover than in the idea of the game. Marcelino relieved after verifying that Muniain's withdrawal in the semifinal was the result of a muscular ramp and that the captain will be on the pitch, the only doubt in Athletic's eleven is to see if Vesga returns to the starting position to the detriment of Dani Garcia. The rest, the same as against Real Madrid with the addition that Wiliams against Barça sees the goal greater than against any other opponent.

And everyone, pending on Messi, the guide who knows the shortest path to the oasis that both teams hope to find after their journey through the desert.

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