An unprecedented second successive treble may have eluded them, but Barcelona can still ensure their dominance over the Spanish domestic season when taking on Sevilla in the final of the Copa del Rey on Sunday. Defeat to Atlético Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals represents the only blemish on Luis Enrique’s resume in two years in charge at the Camp Nou. But he will now return to the scene of that disappointment, Atletico’s Vicente Calderon stadium, where he could claim his seventh title, putting him just one behind the remarkable pace set by Pep Guardiola in the first two seasons of his glorious reign.
After Barcelona’s last visit to the Calderon it appeared that the Catalans’ season was about to go into full meltdown. Exit from the Champions League came in the midst of taking just one point from four games in La Liga to see their lead atop the standings vanish. Yet their response displayed real character, as Barcelona won their final five games emphatically, by an aggregate score of 24-0.
A final 3-0 win over Granada last week ensured Barcelona topped Real Madrid by a single point to win a sixth title in eight seasons. And Enrique believes that the momentum is with his side to further enhance their record as the most successful club in the the history of Spain’s Copa del Rey, with a 28th title.
“We finished the league season in a very good way, playing very well against Granada, and our players will carry that feeling into the next one,” he said, reports Spanish daily Marca. “We all want to do the double, we want to win as much as possible.”
To achieve that feat, though, Barcelona will have to get the better of another side chasing a double. In Sevilla’s case, victory would further enhance their status as Europe’s cup kings after storming back to beat Liverpool and lift a third consecutive Europa League title in Basel on Wednesday.
Having been 1-0 down at halftime, Sevilla produced a brilliant second-half display to win 3-1 and lift the trophy for a fifth time in 11 years. And it came despite a La Liga season in which they failed to win a single game away from home and finished seventh in the standings.
“We have won one trophy, so we believe that we can go on and win another,” Sevilla coach Unai Emery said. “It won't be easy though, Barcelona are a top team. They are a team that asks a lot of questions, and we want to give them the answers by being better than them.”
Sevilla have enjoyed some recent success against Barcelona, beating them at their Sánchez Pizjuán stadium last October. They also pushed them all the way in a thrilling European Super Cup at the start of the season, when Barcelona emerged 5-4 winners in a thrilling encounter.
To Emery’s undoubted relief, his side do not appear to have suffered any fitness casualties from the Europa League final, although the traveling and just three days rest will surely be a challenge. Barcelona will have Claudio Bravo back available, but Marc-André ter Stegen is set to keep his place, as the designated cup goalkeeper.
Kickoff time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
TV channel: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Live stream: Watch ESPN