Skip to main content

Copa del Rey Preview: Atletico v Barcelona

Barca head to Vicente Calderon with a slender lead after Lionel Messi scored the only goal of the game in the quarter-final first leg at Camp Nou last week.

Luis Enrique's free-scoring side are brimming with confidence after following up that victory by hammering Elche 6-0 away from home on Saturday to remain just a point adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

The Catalan giants have won their last six games in all competitions, including a 3-1 La Liga success over Atleti as well as the Copa del Rey triumph, and have not conceded a goal in their last four outings.

Griezmann scored twice as Atleti responded to their first-leg defeat to Barca by beating Rayo Vallecano 3-1 on Saturday and the France striker is ready to play his part in a second-leg fightback.

He said: "We have to be strong here, we'll give our all. And with the support of the people, we will try to pass [through to the semi-finals]. If we didn't believe we could come back, we wouldn't take the field."

Midfielder Tiago echoed his team-mate's sentiments ahead of the third meeting between the two sides this month.

"It's a very good opportunity because everyone thinks that we're out at the moment, since we lost 1-0. But here, at the Calderon, we're going to try," said the Portugal international.

Messi, who scored in both of the recent victories against the La Liga champions, struck twice and laid on another two goals for Neymar in Barca's rout of sorry Elche at the weekend.

The Argentina forward has already netted 31 goals in all competitions this season and linked up brilliantly with Neymar on Saturday, as the Brazil international took his tally for 2014-15 to 19.

Barcelona were beaten by Real in the Copa del Rey final last season and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu wants Luis Enrique's side to take a positive approach in the capital as they attempt to move a step closer to lifting the trophy this year.

He said: "Atletico are a great team and it will be a very tough game. We have to go out for a win and not try and sit on our lead from the first leg."

Jeremy Mathieu trained on Monday, but it is not clear whether the defender will be in contention after recovering from an Achilles injury, while Luis Suarez may have to settle for a place on the bench after being dropped on Saturday - which was his 28th birthday.

Diego Simeone is unable to call upon influential defender Diego Godin due to suspension, but will be hoping Koke is able to return after picking up a knock in the first leg.