SAO PAULO (AP) – Barcelona will begin the defence of their Copa del Rey title with a last-32 tie against former UEFA Cup finalists Alaves, with a possible semi-final showdown with arch rivals Real Madrid further down the line.
Alaves enjoyed a fairytale run in the 2001 UEFA Cup, beating the likes of Inter Milan and Kaiserslautern en route to a final showdown with Liverpool , which they lost 5-4 after extra-time.
That came during an unprecedented five-year stint in the Primera Division for the side from Vitoria, but since then they have slipped down to the third tier of Spanish football.
Barca, who beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 last season to clinch a record 26th Copa del Rey crown, last met Alaves in the cup in the 2006/07 season when Javier Saviola scored all five goals in a 5-3 aggregate triumph for the Catalan giants.
Real Madrid, who are no strangers to upsets at this stage of the Copa, will also face Segunda Division B opposition after being paired with Alcoyano in today's draw.
Madrid suffered one of the biggest humiliations in their illustrious history in 2009 after being dumped out at the same fourth-round stage by third tier side Alcorcon, who won the first leg 4-0 at home en route to a 4-1 aggregate victory.
The previous season, again in the fourth round, Madrid were knocked out by Real Union, who were also playing at the third level of Spanish football.