After having a mediocre campaign last season,. Athletic Bilbao have bounced back to become one of the stronger sides in La Liga and the Basque side will be keen to test their resolve against unbeaten league leaders
Athletic have won eight games already this season and could move into 4th place should they be able to defeat the defending champions at the Stadio San Mames.
Ernesto Valverde will be forced into one change going into the tie as striker Aduriz is suspended for the game after receiving a red card last week against Malafa.
means that the Basque side will Iker Muniain become the main focal point in the Bilbao attack with support from the creative engine of Ander Herrera and Mikel Rico.
Valverde’s side will have some right to be confident as the side have won their last two games in a row and have been unbeaten at home all this season.
Barcelona have had a disruptive week after the reigning champions suffered their first defeat all season long with a 2-1 loss to Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Gerardo Martino is still trying to guide the defending champions through their injury crisis which has gotten worse with Dani Alves now out on the sidelines with a hamstring issue.
Dani Alves joins the extended list of world class players unavailable for the Catalan side with Jordi Alba, Victor Valdes and Lionel Messi all officially ruled out for the trip up north.
One piece of good news for Martino though is that Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez will be back in the squad after missing the last couple of games with injury.
Sanchez had been in sensational form before his injury having scored eight goals in eight games for both Chile and Barcelona throughout October and November.
Despite suffering the shock loss in midweek, Barcelona will be out to avenge their loss as soon as possible which could provide a mighty hurdle for Bilbao to overcome as they look to move into the Champions League places for the first time this season.