This Sunday, Barcelona take on eternal rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercup Final in what will be the 16th time both clubs have met in a cup final against one another. Taking place in Riyadh as all Supercup matches have, it is set up to be an immense clash of two Spanish giants.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Match Details
Date: Sunday, 15th January 2023
Competition: Spanish Super Cup
Venue: King Fahd Stadium (Riyadh)
Time: 20:00 pm Central European Time
Having just recently beaten Real Betis in a blow-for-blow contest that saw Barcelona having been dragged to a penalty shootout following a brutalizing 2-2 draw by the end of the extra time period, the Catalans ended up victorious thanks to a Ter Stegen masterclass that ended up being pivotal in advancing to the final.
This development mirrors Real Madrid’s own road to the final, as they themselves reach the climax through a penalty shootout win against the other semi-finalists, Gennaro Gattuso’s Valencia.
Alas, the moment of this tournament’s triumph will be marked by either the Blue and Red of the Catalonians or the Royal-whites of Madrid, as the two El Clasico rivals butt heads to further increase their respectively incredible domestic title hauls.
This would be the 8th time that these opponents have met in the Spanish Supercup Final, with previous encounters having been heavily dominated by the Madrid-based side, who have emerged victorious in 6 of the last 7 finals played between the two.
Both teams come into this clash in strong form, with Real Madrid having won 4 of their last 5 games bar a 2-1 loss to the yellow submarines of Villarreal, whereas the Catalonian Barcelona themselves have an impressive 4 wins and a draw from their very own last 5 fixtures. This game in particular, however, showcases a chance to make a leapfrog of sorts for both teams in terms of mentality, as so often is achieved by winning an El Clasico.
The last time these sides met this season was in the first El Clasico of the La Liga Santander season, where Barcelona traveled to the Santiago Bernabeu, but ended up being on the unfortunate end of a game that ended 3-1 to Real Madrid. With much more determination and a fully fit squad, Barcelona will be looking to provide a much more dangerous opponent this time around to Los Blancos.
Benzema, Lewandowski, Vinicius Junior, Ousmane Dembele, Valverde, and Pedri amongst a plethora of other stars collide on Sunday in an attempt to secure the earliest possible title of the season, something Xavi in particular would be hellbent on trying to achieve to truly mark the beginning of his plans here at FC Barcelona.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Potential Line-up
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
Pivotal against Real Betis, as he has been throughout the season inevitably. Surely the main starter against Real Madrid as well, Ter Stegen will need to maintain his high levels of consistent performances in order to ensure this game remains as harmless as possible in front of the Catalan’s own goalposts.
Right-Back: Ronald Araujo
Araujo’s presence within that Barcelona defense is unmistakable, and his quality as a defender himself needs no introduction. Quality performance after quality performance following his return, the Uruguayan will be key if Barcelona want to win this encounter. He will be deployed as a fullback as he often is against Real Madrid, in order to curb the danger Vinicius Jr poses as per the recent reports from Javier Miguel.
Left-Back: Alejandro Balde
The youngster was replaced by Jordi Alba against Real Betis in the semi-final, but his pace and athleticism will be key if Barcelona want to keep Real Madrid’s wingers and flank attacks to a minimum, as Balde might need to go toe to toe up against the likes of Rodrigo or possibly even Federico Valverde.
Centre-Back: Jules Kounde
The ever-so versatile and resourceful defender has been a great signing for Barcelona, as his performances have shown all season, and his positional awareness coupled with his arsenal of passing techniques and range may just allow Barcelona to both nullify Madrid’s attacks as well as simultaneously launch ones of their own.
Centre-Back: Andreas Christensen
A great addition in between Araujo and Kunde, Christensen has settled in well to the style of Barcelona. His composed archetype and stern defending is a crucial piece to Xavi’s team when deployed.
Left Midfielder: Gavi
The young Spaniard is amongst the best young players in the world for a reason, and his tenacity and inclination to deploy pressure on the opposing players has so often allowed Barcelona to make pivotal recoveries, and hopefully, this again will be the case against Real Madrid.
Central Midfielder: Sergio Busquets
Opting to go for a 4-man midfield according to most sources, Xavi will most likely pair up Sergio Busquets with the rest of his midfielders in order to sustain more control in midfield and create more passing lines between the center of the field for his own team, in hopes to minimize Real Madrid’s control over proceedings.
Central Midfielder: Frenkie de Jong
The Dutchman has still not found evidently his main position within the Catalan outfit, but De Jong certainly retains his own gift of immense footballing talent and intelligence, and both will be integral in allowing Barcelona to control the proceedings in the final against Real Madrid.
Right Midfielder: Pedri
Classy, masterful in possession, and mature beyond his years. Picked Dembele out for Barcelona’s opening goal scored by Lewandowski, and so often is the unsung hero in Barcelona’s triumphs and goals, the number 8 will again be expected to be at his best to run the Catalan’s midfield and link up with the team.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
Clinical in front of goal and still Barcelona’s most reliable finisher in the box, Robert Lewandowski will undoubtedly be on the hunt for goals against Real Madrid and will be targeting his own first piece of official silverware with his new club.
Was arguably one of the star performers in the semi-final, his blistering pace and unreadable trickery can be just the X-factor that Barcelona end up needing to break apart Real Madrid’s defensive line.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Expected Line-up
Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
Defenders: Balde, Kounde, Christensen, Araujo
Midfielders: Gavi, Busquets, Frenkie, Pedri
Forwards: Lewandowski, Dembele