The pairings for the final eight of Spain’s Copa del Rey were set on Friday afternoon, with Yunus Musah and Valencia once again lucking out, and Matthew Hoppe and Mallorca drawing a fellow just-promoted opponent.
The previous round saw the early exit of several prominent teams such as current holders Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, leaving only one real league powerhouse – Real Madrid – amongst the final eight.
With all eight teams all being from the top division in Spain, none of them could hope for a dream matchup against an overmatched lower-division foe. Nevertheless, Yunus Musah and Valencia drew the closest approximation left in the competition, as they will host second-bottom Cadiz.
This continues Valencia’s luck of the draw, as they reached the quarterfinal by beating the lowest-ranked team left in the previous round, Atlético Baleares, in a narrow game.
Musah has been a key figure for Valencia in their path to the final eight, however there is currently some uncertainty about whether he will be available to play in the game. Currently, the four quarterfinal matches are set to be played in the midweek around Feb. 1-3, which is at the tail-end of the upcoming international window.
This will not impact Spanish or other European players, since the main round of World Cup qualification is already completed and the play-offs are not until March. Nevertheless, this would eliminate any international players competing in the still-running CONCACAF and CONMEBOL qualifiers from participating.
With a number of prominent teams, in particular favorites Real Madrid, heavily dependent upon players that would be impacted, some action by the clubs to force a rescheduling is not off the table.
One player whose participation will likely be unaffected by national team duty is Matthew Hoppe, who will pay a visit to Madrid with his team RCD Mallorca. Fortunately for Los Piratas, they aren’t facing that team from Madrid, but rather Rayo Vallecano, who are still an impressive seventh place in La Liga after just being promoted from the second division.
Hoppe has recently returned from a lengthy injury, and has featured in Mallorca’s last two games, amidst rumors of a loan exit for the remainder of the season.
Copa del Rey Quarterfinal draw
Athletic Bilbao – Real Madrid
Real Sociedad – Real Betis
Valencia CF (Yunus Musah) – Cadiz CF
Rayo Vallecano – RCD Mallorca (Matthew Hoppe)