The Supercopa de Espana returns on Wednesday night with Barcelona taking on Real Sociedad in the first semi-final.
Defeat to Atletico Madrid in this competition last season proved to be the final straw for then-Barça manager Ernesto Valverde, and current boss Ronald Koeman will be hoping he does not suffer a similar fate if the Blaugrana fail to progress to the final.
At least the omens are good. Barcelona come into this one unbeaten in eight games and defeated their opponents 2-1 when they met in La Liga back in December.
Here is the starting XI that Koeman should be selecting for the game…
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – Recently ranked the fourth best goalkeeper on the planet by 90min, Ter Stegen has been in impressive form since recovering from a knee injury November.
Sergino Dest (RB) – A summer arrival from Ajax, Dest has only missed two La Liga games all season. He is an exciting prospect and should continue at right-back.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – After missing Barca’s last game against Granada through suspension, Lenglet should be restored to the starting XI.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – Several players could take the other centre-back spot, including Oscar Mingueza or Samuel Umtiti. However, after being rested last time out, Araujo is most likely to be selected.
Jordi Alba (LB) – One of the few remaining players from Barcelona’s old guard, Alba has missed just three games all season. He will be hoping to add to his seven assists on Wednesday.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Busquets starting at the base of Barcelona’s midfield.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – After a hit and miss first season, De Jong has looked more at home this campaign. He has already matched last term’s goal involvements and will be looking to add to it against La Real.
Pedri (AM) – 2020 was an annus horribilis for Barcelona, but one bright spark was the emergence of Pedri. The joyful 18-year-old will hopefully treat us to more magic in the Supercopa.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – After a turbulent few years, Dembele has been showing his talent more frequently of late. He has registered two goal involvements in his last three games and has particularly impressed in the Champions League this season.
Lionel Messi (ST) – His future may be unclear but as long as he remains at the Camp Nou, Messi is the first name on the team sheet.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – After grabbing a brace against Granada last time out, Koeman would be mad to leave the Frenchman out.