Cup Final Weekend!!!!

The league seasons are over and we only have a couple more weeks until the start of the Euros in France and the Copa America Centenario in the United States.  This weekend we have a slate of Cup finals across the big five leagues and then next weekend is the culmination of the season with the Champions League final.  Here is a quick look at the cup finals this weekend and some predictions.

  1. Copa del Rey Final ~ Barcelona vs. Sevilla

Sunday, May 22nd at Estadio Vicente Calderon (Madrid), 3:30 pm EST on ESPN2

The Champions of Spain take on the recently crowned Europa League Champions.  Sevilla went on to defeat Liverpool 3-1 in the Europa League final this weekend thanks to an amazing second half.  This weekend, both teams will be looking to win their second title of the season.  Barcelona won their 6th league title in the last 8 years.  Bravo is still out for Barcelona, which means that ter Stegen will start in goal.  Dani Alves should be at right back as there will most likely be little changes to the Barcelona lineup.  Tremoulinas and Rami look set to miss out on the final along with Krohn-Dehli and Reyes.  Sevilla will have some high spirits after lifting the trophy in Basel.  This should be a fantastic match with both teams looking to win another trophy.

Predictions

My Pick – Barcelona 3, Sevilla 1: Goals by Messi, Suarez (2), and Gameiro

James’ Pick – Barcelona 2, Sevilla 1: Goals by Messi, Suarez, and Gameiro

  1. DFB Pokal Final ~ Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Saturday, May 21st at Olympiastadion Berlin (Berlin), 1:45 pm EST on ESPN3

The champions of Germany take on their closest competitors in the Pokal final.  Bayern Munich won the league running away this season, but Dortmund had a much better showing as they rebounded nicely from their poor season last year.  Now they will look to stop Munich from the domestic double.  An interesting subplot to this match will be Mats Hummels, as this is his final game for Dortmund before he returns home to Bayern Munich next season.  His final game will be against Bayern Munich and his first game for Bayern will be against Dortmund in the German Super Cup next season.  Badstuber and Robben are still out for Munich.  Javi Martinez and Xabi Alonso are both a doubt.  For Dortmund, Subotic and Gundogan are out.  Reus and Park face late fitness tests, but I expect Reus to start.  These teams are very evenly matched and should give us a classic game.

Predictions

My Pick – Munich 1, Dortmund 2: Goals by Lewandowski, Reus, and Aubameyang

James’ Pick – Munich 3, Dortmund 2: Goals by Lewandowski (2), Muller, Mkhitaryan, and Aubameyang

  1. Coppa Italia Final ~ AC Milan vs. Juventus

Saturday May 21st at Stadio Olimpico (Rome), 2:45 pm EST on GOLTV

The theme of the weekend has to be league champions hoping for a domestic double as Juventus is the third team in a row that can win the domestic double this weekend if they are able to defeat AC Milan this weekend.  AC Milan had a very disappointing league campaign, finishing 7th in the league and are looking at two straight seasons without European football.  Their only hope is winning the Coppa which will be difficult.  Rodrigo Ely and Luca Antonelly are injured.  M’Baye Niang might recover in time to start this game; if not look for Honda, Bacca, and Bonaventura to start in the front three.  Khedira and Marchisio are out in the center of midfield.  Caceres is out injured and Bonucci is suspended.  This means we are likely to see Asamoah and Hernanes with Pogba in the center of midfield and Rugani to join Barzagli and Chiellini in the back 3.  Neto should continue in goal for Juventus as he has played in goal for all of the cup games.  Juventus look like an unstoppable machine right now as they have arguably been the best team in Europe over the last 2 months.

Predictions

My Pick – Milan 1, Juventus 2: Goals by Bacca, Dybala, and Pogba

James’ Pick – Milan 1, Juventus 3: Goals by Bacca, Mandxukic, Dybala, Pogba

  1. Coupe de France Final ~ Marseille vs. Paris Saint Germain

Saturday, May 21st at Stade de France (Paris), 3:00 pm EST on beIN Sports

PSG is looking to complete their second straight domestic treble.  They have already won the Coupe de la Ligue and the Ligue 1.  Last year they won all three competitions and they have a chance to make history and do it two years in a row.  Their opponents had a rough season this year but a win this weekend could be a silver lining on the dark cloud.  Marseille struggled from the start of the season and ended up replacing their manager.  They slightly righted the ship, but it was not enough to potentially challenge for the title.  Michy Batshuayi, Benjamin Mendy, and Jacques-Alaixys Romao are all back from suspension.  Abou Diaby is still sidelined.  Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is getting closer to returning, but it might not happen.  Look for Marseille to play a 4-4-2 with Batshuayi and Fletcher up front and Diarra and Isla in the midfield.  This will be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s final game for PSG as he is set to leave this summer.  Di Maria and Cavani look set to start up front with Lucas Moura pushing for a starting spot.  Pastore should start in the center of the park with Verratti injured.  10 years ago was the last time these two teams faced each other in the Stade de France and PSG defeated the then favorites Marseille for the Coupe de France title.  Will we see another upset this year?

Predictions

My Pick – Marseille 1, PSG 4: Goals by Batshuayi, Ibrahimovic (3), and Di Maria

James’ Pick – Marseille 1, PSG 2: Goals by Batshuayi, Ibrahimovic, and Cavani

  1. FA Cup Final ~ Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United

Saturday, May 21st at Wembley Stadium (London), 12:30 pm EST on FOX

The only cup final that does not feature the league winner is the FA Cup final in London this weekend.  Instead we have Crystal Palace and Manchester United facing off for the trophy in Wembley.  We will either have a tie at the top for most ever FA Cup trophy wins, as Manchester United are looking for their 12th win, or Palace is looking for their first ever FA Cup trophy.  They have only been in the final one time in 1990 and are hoping for better luck this time around.  In 1990 they faced Manchester United and earned a 3-3 draw in the final forcing a replay.  In the replay, United won 1-0.  This was the first major trophy under Sir Alex Ferguson.  Will this be the first major trophy for Louis Van Gaal? Will this be enough for him to keep his job? Palace will be without Appiah, Chamakh, Ledley, and Hangeland due to injury.  Mutch is a doubt for the game.  United are still without Keane, Shaw, Schweinsteiger, and Januzaj.  Darmian is a doubt.  The United faithful will expect a trophy this weekend as they are the clear favorites.

Predictions

My Pick – Palace 2, United 1: Goals by Wickham, Puncheon, and Martial

James’ Pick – Palace 1, United 2: Goals by Bolasie, Rooney, and Martial

 

 

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