On Sunday night at Camp Nou, one of the biggest games on the football schedule will take place when La Liga leaders Barcelona welcome second-place Real Madrid for El Clasico.
Over the last few seasons, Barcelona has had to watch as their rivals, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, clinched the La Liga title. However, the team leads the league with a significant nine-point advantage over the reigning champions, heading into the next El Clasico.
Xavi’s team has been performing exceptionally well in the league this season, winning 21 out of their 25 matches, with only two draws and two defeats. Even more impressive is that they have only conceded eight goals in the La Liga campaign, a remarkable record at this competition stage.
While Barcelona was knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United in the playoff stage last month, they have already secured the Spanish Super Cup this season.
They are now eyeing two more trophies, including the Copa del Rey. However, they must overcome Real Madrid to achieve their desired success in the tournament.
Barcelona La Liga Form: W W L W W
Real Madrid had a successful midweek, securing their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at the Bernabeu. The team is currently in the running for a treble this season, with the Copa del Rey and La Liga still up for grabs.
Despite being viewed as an underdog in La Liga, Real Madrid has been in good form lately. A victory on Sunday would reduce the point difference to six, which is a much more manageable figure than the current twelve.
Real Madrid’s last defeat in the league was against Mallorca in early February. Since then, they have drawn with Atletico Madrid and Real Betis and, most recently, recorded a 3-1 win over Espanyol at the Bernabeu last weekend.
Real Madrid La Liga Form: W W D D W
Barcelona had hoped to have Ousmane Dembele available for the upcoming match, but unfortunately, the French international is still out due to a hamstring issue.
However, the team is set to welcome back midfielder Pedri, who has recovered from a hamstring problem that forced him to sit out the team’s previous six matches.
In some positive news for the team, Ronald Araujo is available for selection after serving his suspension and will likely be in the starting lineup for this match.
Real Madrid goes into the upcoming El Clasico clash with almost a full-strength squad, with David Alaba being the only absentee due to a hamstring issue. The Austria international’s absence is a blow for the team, but they have plenty of depth to cover for his loss.
Ferland Mendy is back in contention after returning from a hamstring problem and was on the bench during their recent match against Liverpool.
Karim Benzema also came off the pitch with a knock during the second leg of the Champions League last-16 game, but he has since been declared fit for the upcoming match against Barcelona.
Barcelona’s predicted starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; F de Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi
Real Madrid’s predicted starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Tchouameni, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
Head to Head
The upcoming El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid is one of world football’s most eagerly anticipated fixtures. These two fierce rivals have a rich history, having faced each other 252 times.
Real Madrid holds the upper hand in the head-to-head record, winning 101 matches, while Barcelona has won 99 times. The remaining games between these two teams have ended in a draw.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Sunday, March 19
Time: 08:00 pm, GMT
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Real Madrid’s title defence needs to be more robust, and they now find themselves in a position where they must win at Camp Nou if they want to keep their title hopes alive.
Despite the pressure on Real Madrid to perform, it would be unwise to underestimate Barcelona’s capabilities, especially at home. The Catalan giants have always been formidable opponents, and with the support of their passionate fans, they will be a force to be reckoned with.