Bilbao out to spoil Guardiola farewell

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa says his team are confident of making sure there is no happy ending for Pep Guardiola when they face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final (Bilbao 8/1, Barca 3/10, draw 9/2 – match betting).

Guardiola will bid farewell to the Catalan club following Friday’s game in Madrid, after guiding Barcelona through their most successful period. Should Barca get the better of Bilbao it will be a 14th winners medal for Guardiola and his team after a remarkable three years together.

Having missed out on La Liga to Real Madrid and been dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea, the Copa del Rey represents Barcelona’s last chance of winning a trophy this season.

While the domestic season ended nearly two weeks ago Barcelona still have a number of injury concerns, with David Villa, Carlos Puyol, Eric Abidal and Dani Alves all unavailable.  The only good news is Alexis Sanchez (10/3 first goalscorer) returns from injury and should partner Lionel Messi (5/2) and Pedro (9/2) in attack.

Much like Guardiola, Friday’s final could be the last game Bielsa takes charge of for Bilbao, having failed to say whether he will carry on next season.

Los Leones are also looking to end the season on a high having been beaten 3-0 in the final of the Europa League by Athletico Madrid. Bielsa has a fully fit squad to choose from and believes his team have the character to bounce back from their European heartache against Barcelona.

“We don’t dwell on favorites,” Bielsa said on Thursday. “After coming so close to a title already this is a fantastic opportunity that motivates us, we’re fully optimistic on our chances.”

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