The Supercopa de Espana return on Wednesday night with Barcelona facing Real Sociedad in the first semi-final.
The loss to Atletico Madrid in this competition last season proved to be the last straw for then Barca manager Ernesto Valverde and current boss Ronald Koeman is hoping he won’t suffer the same fate if the Blaugrana fail to advance to the final.
At least the omens are good. Barcelona entered it undefeated in eight games and beat their opponents 2-1 when they met in La Liga in December.
Here is the starting XI that Koeman should select for the game …
Marc-André ter Stegen (GK) – Recently ranked fourth best goalkeeper on the planet by 90min, Ter Stegen has been in impressive shape since recovering from a knee injury in November.
Sergino Dest (RB) – Ajax’s summer arrival, Dest has missed just two La Liga games all season. It’s an exciting prospect and should continue to the right-back.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – After missing Barca’s last game against Granada by suspension, Lenglet is expected to be reinstated in the starting XI.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – Several players could take the other center-back position, including Oscar Mingueza or Samuel Umtiti. However, after resting the last time, Araujo is most likely to be selected.
Jordi Alba (LB) – One of the few remaining players in Barcelona’s old guard, Alba has only missed three games all season. He hopes to add to his seven assists on Wednesday.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Busquets from the base of the Barcelona midfielder.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – After a successful debut season, De Jong has watched more at home this campaign. He already tied last season’s goal pledges and will be looking to add to them against La Real.
Pedri (AM) – 2020 was an annus horribilis for Barcelona, but a bright spark was the emergence of Pedri. The happy 18 year old will hopefully give us more magic in the Supercopa.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – After a few eventful years, Dembele has shown his talent more frequently in recent times. He has scored two goals in his last three games and has particularly impressed in the Champions League this season.
Lionel Messi (ST) – His future may not be clear, but as long as he stays at Camp Nou Messi is the first name on the squad sheet.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – After securing a brace against Granada last time around, Koeman would be crazy to let the Frenchman out.