Lionel Messi absent as Barcelona prepare to take on Real Sociedad

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Football Espana

Article image: Lionel Messi absent as Barcelona prepare to take on Real Sociedad

The Supercopa de Espana is undoubtedly the least prestigious of the titles Spanish football’s heavyweights compete for, but in this strangest of seasons it’s taken on a new significance.

Ronald Koeman could win his first title as Barcelona coach this evening in Cordoba, as his Blaugrana take on Real Sociedad in the first of the semi-finals. Real Madrid face Athletic Club tomorrow.

What winning the first title available to them could do is set Barcelona, who’ve endured such a difficult and inconsistent opening to the season, on the track to success in the second half of the campaign, with La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey all still to play for.

La Real started with captain Mikel Oyarzabal, who’s been suffering with injury these past few weeks, but were unable to welcome back David Silva into the starting lineup. Winless in 12, they’d be grateful of the boost Supercopa success could bring to a season that started so well for them.

Barcelona are without captain Lionel Messi due to a knock he picked up in Granada at the weekend, with Koeman opting for what looks to be a 4-3-3. Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri lining up in midfield behind a front three of Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann.