One of the most awaited fixtures around the world, El Clasico is set to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu this Sunday evening.
Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have made an unbeaten start to their league campaign this season and quite interestingly at this point with 8 games played, both are tied on points (22) at the top of the table.
Despite being in formidable form last season, Real Madrid suffered a humiliating defeat to a recovering Barcelona side at the Bernabeu. Manager Carlo Ancelotti will need to make sure his tactics and team are on point to avoid such a debacle and come away with the three crucial points from this venerable fixture.
In their last game, Real Madrid managed to continue their unbeaten in all competitions since the start of the season after Antonio Rudiger sacrificed his face to head home the equaliser against Shakhtar in the last minute of added time. Carlo Ancelotti rotated his team and kept the likes of Vinicius, Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal on the bench to rest them for El Clasico.
Despite Real’s woes against the Ukrainian giants, they progressed to the Round of 16 while being top of their group but for Barcelona, the group has been cruel to them like last season.
After drawing 3-3 in a hotly contested match against Inter Milan, Barcelona now face a potential relegation to the Europa League as they are now three points off R16 qualification. The Catalan outfit still has a chance to progress through to the knockout stages but if Inter grabs a win in their next UCL game against Viktoria, Xavi’s men will become a Europa League outfit for this season.
For Real Madrid, Dani Ceballos is set to remain on the sidelines with a long-term injury.
Race against time as Thibaut Courtois attempts to recover fully for the El Clasico after getting affected by Sciatica. Otherwise, Andriy Lunin is set to continue in between the sticks.
Antonio Rudiger has rejoined the team in training before El Clasico but Eder Militao is likely to get the nod over the German defender alongside David Alaba.
In form Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Aurelien Tchouameni are set to retain their places in the starting lineup.
Fede Valverde is expected to start from the right flank replacing Rodrygo.
For Barcelona, Memphis Depay, Hector Bellerin, Andreas Christensen and Ronald Araujo are set to remain sidelined with long-term injuries.
Alejandro Balde is expected to replace Jordi Alba at left-back who is going through a sticky spell at the moment.
Jules Kounde is expected to start over Gerard Pique in defence alongside Eric Garcia.
Real Madrid: Lunin; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, E Garcia, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Dembele, Lewandowski, Fati