​Barcelona travel to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday night, with both sides looking to book their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.


The Catalans have dominated this competition in recent years, winning the competition in four consecutive seasons between 2014 and 2018 before their 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the final last May.

Los Leones, meanwhile, will be looking to add to their 23 Copa del Rey titles - second to only Barca (30) - come April, as they look to overcome La Blaugrana for the second time this season.


Bilbao needed penalties to overcome two second-tier sides in the round of 32 and 16, while Barca put in their most convincing display of the Quique Setien era thus far last time out - thumping Leganes 5-0 at the Camp Nou to set up this quarter-final clash.


Where to Watch on TV


Unfortunately for fans, the game is not being televised in the UK, but will be available to watch via a subscription to Bet365. USA viewers can watch the match via ESPN Plus subscription streaming service. 


​When is Kick Off?​Thursday 6 January
​What Time is Kick Off?​20:00 (BST)
​Where is it Played?​San Mamés Stadium
​TV Channel/Live StreamESPN Plus (US)​
​Referee​N/A



Team News


Athletic boss Gaizka Garitano will be without versatile full-back Oscar de Marcos once more while goalkeeper Iago Herrerin is suspended after his early sending off against Tenerife in the last round.


Other than that, Garitano should have a fully fit squad to choose from for Thursday's fixture.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-LEVANTE

Setien, meanwhile, named a strong side against Leganes and that will likely be the case for the clash with Athletic.


The Spaniard, however, will be without long-term absentees Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, the latter of whom suffered another minor injury setback in training on Monday. 


Number two keeper Neto is also a doubt after missing his side's last two encounters with an ankle injury while Arturo Vidal is unlikely to make the starting XI for this one after missing the Levante victory with a thigh issue.


Predicted Lineups


​Bilbao​Simon; Capa, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; D.Garcia, Lopez; Williams, R.Garcia, Muniain; Villalibre.
Barcelona​Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Firpo; Busquets, De Jong, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Fati.



Head to Head Record


Aritz Aduriz's incredible acrobatic effort gave Los Leones the victory late on when they faced Barca on the opening weekend of the season. That strike being the 38-year-old's only goal of the campaign up to this point.

Aritz Aduriz

Aduriz's goal meant they secured just their seventh victory over the Catalans since 2011.

During that same time frame, La Blaugrana have beaten Thursday's opponents on 35 occasions in all competitions, while there have also been 12 draws between the pair.


Recent Form


Bilbao have struggled in La Liga over the past month, drawing five on the bounce before their 2-0 home defeat to the high-flying Getafe at the weekend.


While they dominated territorially against the Azulones, Los Leones lacked creativity and incisiveness in the final third - failing to break down a remarkably stout Getafe backline. Despite their inability to create chances and, ultimately, score goals - they hold the joint-worst scoring record for teams in the top half (22) - Bilbao's defence has helped them to their current ninth-place position in La Liga.


Inigo Martinez and Yeray Alvarez have forged a strong partnership at the heart of defence - with Bilbao holding the third-best defensive record in the top-flight.

Ansu Fati

Barcelona, meanwhile, built on their thrashing of Leganes last Thursday by overcoming Levante 2-1 on Sunday night - with an Ansu Fati brace in the space of two first-half minutes being the difference between the two sides. 


While they often impressed going forward, defensively they were poor - surrendering a couple of good chances to the visitors before Levante eventually pulled one back in stoppage time. 


Their performances under Setien have shown that it'll take the players some time to get used to a return to the 'Juego de Posición' philosophy, but in due course, they'll reap the rewards of this tactical upheaval. 


Here's how these two sides have fared in their last five outings.


Athletic ​Bilbao​Barcelona
​Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Getafe (02/02)​Barcelona 2-1 Levante (02/02)
​Tenerife 3-3 Athletic Bilbao (2-4p) (28/01)​Barcelona 5-0 Leganes (30/01)
​Espanyol 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (25/01)​Valencia 2-0 Barcelona (25/01)
​Elche 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (4-5p) (22/01)​Ibiza 1-2 Barcelona (22/01)
​Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Celta Vigo (19/01)​Barcelona 1-0 Granada (19/01)



Prediction


Athletic's rigid defence will make this a tricky encounter for the travelling Barca. And despite their poor form, it wouldn't be surprising to see the hosts force this one to extra-time, if not penalties. 


Barca have struggled away from home this season and are certainly a much less potent attacking force on their travels - scoring 15 goals on the road this season compared to 37 at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi

The hosts could nick a draw in normal time and from there it's a complete toss-up as to who progresses. But surely Bilbao can't win three penalty shootouts on the bounce, right?


Prediction: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Barcelona (Barcelona to win on penalties)