It is likely that the biggest game of the weekend will only be seen by those lucky enough to be attending the match - that is unless a dispute between broadcasters over rights issues can be resolved before Barcelona – Sevilla kick off on Sunday evening.
It is a pity because it promises to be a fascinating encounter in what is going to be a testing week for the Champions who must play Chelsea on Wednesday before travelling to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid.
Barcelona were soundly beaten by Sevilla in the European Supercup in August and it would be fair to say that Juande Ramos seems to have developed the tactical formula for stopping Rijkaard’s team. It will be fascinating to see how Barcelona respond on Sunday and if they fail to win then you can be sure that Mourinho and Capello will be furiously taking notes in preparation for training on Monday morning.
Barcelona, and Ronaldinho, will also be under the spotlight because they have been performing well below their usual standards so far this season and have even admitted as much themselves. However, they have also been eager to point out that when the time comes, they will raise their game. Well, it seems that the time has come.
There has been a lot of talk in Barcelona about how Ronaldinho is usually a slow starter to the season and that this year is no exception. Hopes have been raised by the player’s performance for Brazil in midweek and many, in the press and around the club, are saying that we will see him back to his scintillating best this week. There is, however, the possibility that he could do with a rest and if that is the case then he may be rested for the Sevilla match – ready to be unleashed at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
On the plus side for Barcelona is the current form of the underrated and under used Andres Iniesta who was outstanding for Spain on Wednesday and who must surely start at the weekend. Meanwhile, Barcelona are sweating over the extent of Carles Puyol’s injury.
Sevilla coach Juande Ramos believes that the 3-0 UEFA Supercup win will have little influence over the outcome of Sunday’s match.
"They are the same team but the Super Cup game does not have anything to do with the league game,” said Ramos.
"Every game is different from the previous one."
That may be so, but Sevilla have the tactical discipline and the players to stifle Barcelona’s creativity, and know exactly what needs to be done. Chelsea play with a similar discipline and are likely to gain inspiration from Sevilla’s tactic of squeezing the Barcelona midfield and denying quality service to the forwards. To some extent, the same might be said of Real Madrid, if Emerson decides to get out of first gear, and for that reason, Sunday’s encounter may set the pattern for the rest of the week.
Let’s just hope we get to see it.