Madrid, Spain | THE INDEPENDENT | The quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey kick off on Tuesday night with second-division side Almeria taking on Sevilla.
Almeria have already beaten two top-flight sides on their run into the last eight, with a 5-0 thrashing of Alaves followed by a dramatic penalty shoot out win against Osasuna in the last round, and they now hope for a third scalp in a regional derby.
Sevilla travel to the south-east of Spain in an excellent run of form that has lifted them to fourth in the La Liga table, just a point behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, and they cruised into the quarters after brushing aside Valencia 3-0 in the last round.
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui will field his strongest side, although they are missing left-back Marcos Acuna through injury.
There are two games on Wednesday with an east coast derby between Levante and Villarreal.
Levante will receive their near neighbors with their morale sky high after their 2-1 win away to Real Madrid at the weekend and after an impressive 4-2 win away to Valladolid in the last round of the Cup.
Villarreal meanwhile looked to lack firepower without Gerard Moreno as they were held by Real Sociedad in their last league match.
There is also a fascinating game between Granada and FC Barcelona, with last season’s beaten semi-finalists taking on a side that won 4-0 in their Los Carmines Stadium earlier this season.
Leo Messi and Antoine Griezmann both scored twice in that game and Barca travel with full backs Sergi Roberto and Sergino Dest both available again after injury, but Granada showed with their 6-0 demolition of Navalcarnero in the last round that they are taking the Copa del Rey very seriously indeed.
The last quarterfinal is on Thursday with Betis at home to last season’s finalists Athletic Club Bilbao, who continue to improve under coach Marcelino Garcia Toral.