Barcelona are the firm favourites as they host Real Madrid at Camp Nou for the second El Clascio this season. Sitting with a nine point lead at the top of the table, the Catalans are eyeing a second successive treble while Real have their sight firmly fixed on the Champions League trophy after dropping out of the title race.
Barcelona find themselves a tough opponent in Atletico Madrid who are due to visit Camp Nou shortly afterwards for the first leg of the quarter-final Champions League tie. Real however, will travel to Wolfsburg as they look to challenge for an eleventh Champions League trophy.
With a lot riding on both the teams, a strong performance by the visitors on Saturday will go a long way in shifting the momentum in Spain. A Catalan win on the other hand will set Barcelona firmly on the path to domestic success.
While doubts were raised regarding Jordi Alba’s fitness for the match, the Spaniard is expected to be fit for the Clasico. Jeremy Mathieu and Adriano are expected to miss the clash due to injuries. Hence Luis Enrique has a full squad to choose from which will also prove crucial for the upcoming Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid. His attacking trip composing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar returned from their international commitments without any fitness concerns.
Probable Starting Eleven: Bravo (GK); Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Alves; Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic, Neymar, Messi; Suarez
Zinedine Zidane will be without the services of Raphael Varane who suffered a solesus calf muscle problem while Toni Kroos reportedly limped off the training session with no official word out on his injury. Pepe is expected to replace the Frenchman in the defence. Casemiro is likely to get the nod ahead of Isco and James Rodriguez who have failed to impress Zidane in the past few months. However, Kroos’s injury could compel the manager to give either of them a start against Barcelona.
Probable Starting Eleven: Navas (GK); Ramos, Pepe, Danilo, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Bale, Ronaldo; Benzema
- Lionel Messi is the highest goalscorer in the history of El Clasico with 21 goals in as many fixtures. Cristiano Ronaldo ranks fourth with 15 goals in 15 games.
- Barcelona have won ten of their last twenty league fixtures against Real Madrid. The galacticos have won six.
- Real Madrid are the leading goalscorers in the Spanish la Liga with 87 goals in 30 fixtures. However, only 27 of them were scored away from home.
- Lionel Messi could score his 500th career goal against Real Madrid. He is currently on 499.
- Out of the 171 La Liga fixtures between the two clubs, Real Madrid have won 71 while Barcelona have won 68.
Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
Barcelona are expected to extend their lead over Real Madrid to 13 points after the second El Clasico of the season. As declared by Luis Enrique, the players are ‘crazy’ for a victory against their arch rivals which will also serve as a fitting tribute to Johan Cryuff.
Betting Odds (bet 365)
Barcelona – 4/7
Draw – 7/2
Real Madrid – 9/2