Barcelona and Valencia come into Saturday’s Copa del Rey final from completely different places.
Valencia are still on a high from scraping into the Champions League spots in the last three weeks of the season and want to celebrate their centenary with a cup win.
Barcelona are still in depression after Champions League elimination. The pressure is on them to win the final and at least finish the campaign with a domestic double.
Sportsmail breaks down the match that will bring the curtain down on the season in Spain.
Lionel Messi and Barcelona will aim to end their season on a high by winning the Copa del Rey following the disappointment of their Champions League semi-final exit to Liverpool
WHO’S IN BETTER SHAPE MENTALLY?
Valencia were not in the top four until the last month of the season.
Even on the last day they were fifth after 20 minutes of their match away at Valladolid and Getafe’s home game with Villarreal. But all’s well that ended well.
Full-back Jose Gaya said this week: ‘There is no pressure for us because our objective this season was top four and we have achieved it.’
Barcelona in contrast are still hungover from the semi-final. Gerard Pique said on Thursday: ‘Anfield was a nightmare that is going to be with us for a long time.’
Valencia enter the final on a high having qualified for next season’s Champions League
BARCELONA vs VALENCIA
Copa del Rey final; Saturday 8pm BST
Benito Villamarin Stadium, Seville
No live coverage on UK television
WHO’S IN BETTER SHAPE PHYSICALLY?
Barcelona are without Luis Suarez who is recovering from knee surgery and Ousmane Dembele who is hamstrung.
Philippe Coutinho is expected to be fit and although Nelson Semedo has done only light training this week after suffering a blow to the head in the final league game of the season he should be fit.
Suarez will be on the flight however and so will others who can’t play such as Denis Suarez and Rafinha. There will also be a seat on the plane for Kevin Prince Boateng.
Valencia have no major injury worries beyond winger Denis Cheryshev who was ruled out for the rest of the season last month.
Philippe Coutinho is expected to be fit for the final following a hamstring injury
WHO WILL CELEBRATE MORE IF THEY WIN?
Valencia will have a party to end all parties. Barcelona are not planning anything if they win.
They celebrated winning the league on the pitch in their penultimate home game. There will be no open top bus ride ‘just’ for winning the cup.
WHAT WILL IT MEAN GOING INTO THE SUMMER AND NEXT SEASON?
If Barcelona lose expect them to sign Matthijs De Ligt within about 24-hours of Valencia’s parade.
If Barcelona win it will cement Ernesto Valverde’s position, not that he will lose his job if they lose, unless it’s a big defeat.
Barcelona will likely confirm the signing of Matthijs de Ligt if they lose to Valencia on Saturday
ALL THIS POINTS TO A VALENCIA WIN BUT AREN’T WE FORGET ONE MAN?
Messi is up for it. That’s the one bit of good news going into the final.
He wants to pick up trophy No 32 for Barcelona and become the first player ever to score in six finals.
He will sound the battle cry on Friday by giving the pre-match press conference – that’s something he has not done since 2015.
Lionel Messi will try and rally Barcelona for the final as he aims to collect trophy No 32
AND WHO ELSE BEYOND MESSI ARE BARCELONA SUPPORTERS PUTTING THEIR HOPES IN?
He is likely to be joined by Coutinho and Malcom in attack. They have only played together five times but Coutinho at least has good memories of the Spanish Cup final – he played arguably his best match for Barcelona to date in last year’s final.
Gerard Pique will be important too. He has been outstanding this season, Anfield apart, he has won the last 11 one-match cup finals he has played in.
ARE THE NEUTRALS BACKING VALENCIA?
Most football supporters in Spain can see the appeal of Barcelona not winning their fifth straight Copa del Rey.
But then Messi has a special relationship with the Betis fans who even chanted his name this season so they might prefer Barcelona.
It was Valencia who knocked Betis out and prevented them from reaching the final in their own stadium.
Valencia defeated Real Betis, whose stadium will host the final, in the Copa semi-finals
TACTICALLY HAVE VALENCIA GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO TURN OVER THE TITLE HOLDERS?
They will try to follow the Liverpool example with an intensive press on Barcelona as they try to play out from the back.
Their two goals last week in the 2-0 win over Valladolid both came from robbing the opposition high up the pitch with Rodrigo Moreno and then Dani Parejo winning possession in the build-up to the goals.
Defensively they will play their usual game of leaving as little space as possible between the lines of their 4-4-2.
It’s the system coach Marcelino worships and bizarrely abandoned against Arsenal in the first leg of the Europa League Semi-final.
Valencia coach Marcelino will get his players to push Barcelona back as far as possible
GIVE US A COMBINED XI BASED ON CURRENT FORM
4-4-2: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Garay, Gaya; Soler, Rakitic, Parejo, Guedes; Messi, Rodrigo.
SO MORE VALENCIA PLAYERS THAN BARCELONA PLAYERS, CAN THEY REALLY DO THIS?
Messi will be the deciding factor. If he gives a captain’s performance then he will lift his third trophy as skipper.
Anything less from him and Valencia will celebrate their 100th birthday with the Copa del Rey.