Three times in little over a week Spanish football hosts Athletic Bilbao V FC Barcelona. The first two of those fixtures were in the Spanish Super Cup, and just like that, Barca's campaign to win six trophies in a single calendar year has come to an end. Following their remarkable treble win during the 2014 2015 season, followed by a UEFA Super Cup victory over Sevilla last week, it looked like FC Barcelona were going to replicate the six-trophy feat that the club managed back in 2009. Unfortunately for fans in the Barcelona football shirt, it just wasn't meant to be. But, will the Super Cup result impact upon the third meeting of these two clubs in the first game of the 2015 - 2016 La Liga season?
Barca's 2009 Hall-of-Fame Year
The 2008 2009 Barca squad was remarkable, using the indelible frontline of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, and Thierry Henry to outplay just about every other offensive line in European soccer. The result was Barca's first treble-winning season, with in-season victories in the La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey.
Samuel Eto'o left Barcelona the summer after that treble-winning run, but the football club thrived regardless-with new transfer Zlatan Ibrahimovic netting 21 overall goals throughout the 2009 2010 season, and existing Barcelona team members like Pedro and Bojan Krkic stepping up in a big way. With plenty of talent and depth in the gas tank, Barcelona beat Shakhtar Donetsk to win the UEFA Super Cup, topped Athletic Bilbao on a 5-1 aggregate to win the Supercopa de Espana, and topped Argentina's Estudiantes de La Plata to win the FIFA Club World Cup. Six trophies, one year: the ultimate soccer accomplishment.
A String of Bad Luck
This year, it looked like Messi might be ready to lead Barcelona to yet another six-trophy year. He certainly had the talent at his back, combining with Luis Suarez and Neymar to formulate what some have called the best frontline in Barcelona soccer history.
Still, the win-Barcelona's fourth major trophy of 2015-came at a cost. Described by many as a "Herculean effort" on the part of the Spanish champions, the Tuesday, August 11th match left Barcelona's players drained and exhausted-not a good thing, considering that they were scheduled to play Athletic Bilbao for the first leg of the Spanish Supercup just three days later.
Rested versus Unrested
That woeful bit of scheduling proved to be anything but fair for FC Barcelona, as they headed unrested into an away match against a team that hadn't played a match in eight days. Barca may well be the best football club in the world, but Friday, August 14's Supercup game was simply a case of a rested team versus and unrested team, and the results skewed far in favor of the former.
The second leg, played on Monday, August 17th, was only slightly better for Barca. Playing at home, at Camp Nou, Barcelona took the lead just before the half, with a classic Messi-Suarez team-up. But despite dominating possession almost 70-30, Barcelona simply didn't have enough gas in the tank to make up a four-point deficit in the aggregate. When Anduriz scored for Bilbao at 74 minutes, it was the final nail in the coffin for Barca's six-trophy hopes. The match ended 1-1, winning Athletic Bilbao the Supercopa de Espana on a 5-1 aggregate-the same aggregate that netted Barcelona the trophy back in 2009.
Out for Blood
Neymar will, unfortunately, still be sidelined, but the rest of Barca's squad should be well rested for the match, and will absolutely be out for revenge against Athletic Club for the Supercopa de Espana loss. Will the quest for blood push Messi, Suarez, and the rest of the Barcelona football squad to an adrenaline-filled victory on Sunday? We'll find out soon, support the Barca squad by picking up a new home or away Barcelona jersey at Soccer Box! Use the coupon code.