Lionel Messi
Barcelona were beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super CupReuters

Barcelona open their La Liga title defence with a trip to Athletic Bilbao on 23 August, just over a week after getting thrashed 4-0 by the same opponents in the Spanish Super Cup.

Where to watch live

Kick-off is set for 5.30pm BST. The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 3 HD.

Overview

Barcelona will be out to avenge their 4-0 harrowing defeat at San Mames on 14 August, a loss that dealt a fatal blow to their hopes of securing a sextuple this calendar year.

Luis Enrique has a major defensive crisis on his hands heading into the clash as Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu are both suspended, while full-backs Jordi Alba and Adriano did not train on 20 August and are unlikely to feature. Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen is likely to fill in at left-back, with young defender Marc Bartra partnering Javier Mascherano in central defence.

Athletic Bilbao are on a high after securing their first major trophy in 31 years but have injury concerns of their own, with Iker Muniain (knee) ruled out and Inaki Williams and Ander Iturraspe both doubtful to feature.

The Basque outfit's coach Ernesto Valverde should recall several players rested in the 3-2 Europa League play-off defeat against Slovak side Zilina on 20 August.

What managers say

Ernesto Valverde: "From an outside perspective, people might think that we didn't struggle at all [in the 1-1 draw against Barcelona], but we had a really hard time of it, because the first half was tough. They pushed us back and when they took the lead against the run of play it spurred them on. I'm incredibly happy, not just because we won, but because of what this means to everyone. We know what Athletic are all about and the joy this victory brings our fans."

Luis Enrique: "I think [my players] played very well [in the 1-1 draw against Athletic]. They got Athletic doubting and I could see our opponents were starting to worry. We competed and made a huge effort. But it all ended when Gerard Piqué was sent-off. I can only say well done to Athletic for such a fine performance. Sometimes it's good to lose in order to appreciate how hard it is to win."

Form guide

  • Athletic Bilbao (all competitions): LDWDW
  • Last result: Zilina 3-2 Athletic Bilbao (Europa League play-off)
  • Barcelona (all competitions): DLWWW
  • Last result: Barcelona 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (Spanish Super Cup)

Betting odds (888sport)

  • Athletic Bilbao win: 6
  • Draw: 17/5
  • Barcelona win: 7/15

Team news

Athletic Bilbao possible XI: Iraizoz; De Marcos, Etxeita, Laporte, Balenziaga; Benat, San Jose; Susaeta, Rico, Aketxe; Aduriz

Barcelona possible XI: Bravo; Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Vermaelen; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Rafinha.