Athletic reaches its second Cup final in 14 days still under the effects of the bitter defeat against Real Sociedad (0-1), the Basque derby that was to determine the champion of the previous year and that was delayed to this by the pandemic and to be played with the public. Something that could not be either. The head of the players will play a major factor in tonight's performance. The option of a triplet disappeared and the ambition in search of the Super Cup and the Cup, a double, has been rearranged.
Marcelino has had to focus his work on the mental reset of his players, far removed from the January version. However, for this second final in fifteen days, what is expected is that the Asturian coach, if he can, will repeat a good part of his starting eleven, if not all. The doubts focus on the physical condition of several players and the final decision on a double pivot for which he does not have two clear starters. Two fixed on defense like Yeray and Yuri arrive fair but it seems that they recovered from the muscular overloads they suffered nine days ago at the Reale Arena in the league repetition of the final already in Donostia's field.
Copa del Rey
* Data updated as of April 16, 2021
If they do not play, it is also clear that they will be relieved by Núñez and Balenziaga, their natural substitutes. The latter was already a starter in both Super Cup games and Núñez, in the semifinal against Real Madrid. The latest setback focuses on Muniain, who has been seen limping on the trip to Seville, although yesterday he cleared up the unknowns and confirmed that he will be able to play. If it does not arrive, Berenguer could act on the left flank. Iker has lowered his performance a lot in recent weeks, always giving the feeling of not being at the top of his physical condition.
Marcelino studies putting a double lane on the right, with Capa and De Marcos, to stop Alba and Griezmann. Already in the double pivot, still being an unknown, Dani García, due to his experience, is presumed with more options. Winner (his companion in the Super Cup and also in the final against Real), Vesga and Unai López choose to accompany him, with many options for the Vitorian. They are fixed Unai Simón under sticks, Íñigo Martínez commanding the defense and the couple Raúl García and Iñaki Williams in an attack that if it presents a novelty would be that of Villalibre, scorer and even talisman coming off the bench.
Athletic exercised yesterday in La Cartuja, whose grass stepped again on the eve of its third final of the course, in this case that of the Copa del Rey against Barcelona, in a stadium that brings back bittersweet memories, because in January it won the Super Cup precisely to his rival on Saturday and two weeks ago he lost his cup final with Real Sociedad. Two years ago, before the pandemic, García Toral was proclaimed Cup champion in Seville, when he coached Valencia by beating Barça.
It is once again the end of silence. There are only controlled activities. For example, flamenco dancers from the Biscayan group De Norte a Sur have wanted to encourage Athletic with a video in which they dance Sevillanas with the anthem of the rojiblanco team. In the recording, which has had a great impact on social networks, a dozen women from this group and two men tap the Athletic anthem, in a dance they perform with red-and-white team shirts and long black skirts or pants.
The idea arose spontaneously when, after their recent defeat against the Real, the bailaoras and bailaores came to class with distressed faces and the club's shirt. “We started tapping with Athletic's music and that's how we were creating the choreography,” explained Garrardo, director of the Abadiño group, who has not hidden his surprise at the impact the video has had on social networks. “The dance does not have any flamenco rhythm, but we have put foot steps, arms and wrist movements with flamenco style,” he assured. In the recording, the dancers perform the choreography in emblematic places of their municipality such as the Muntsaratz tower or the Urkiola sanctuary. Today its members will once again wear the Athletic shirt to encourage their team again in the streets of their municipality, where they will also perform this dance.