One of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the European football schedule takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, as Real Madrid and Barcelona meet in the famous El Clasico.
With the arch-rivals going toe-to-toe in the La Liga title race this term, the 250th competitive El Clasico could determine the course of the season for both sides.
Comfortably clear of their nearest challengers, Madrid and Barcelona share the top spot after experiencing identical league records in the opening eight league rounds (W7, D1).
Both teams were victorious in La Liga last weekend. While Los Merengues snatched a narrow 1-0 triumph at bottom-half Getafe, the Blaugrana somehow defeated Celta Vigo at home by the same scoreline.
However, neither side lived up to expectations in midweek Champions League action, though there’s no doubt Carlo Ancelotti’s men won’t moan over a last-gasp 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk as will Barcelona.
Xavi Hernandez’s side squandered a 1-0 half-time lead in an enthralling 3-3 stalemate with fellow Group C second-place hopefuls Inter Milan at the Spotify Camp Nou.
With only two matchdays left, the Catalans trail last season’s Serie A runners-up by three points and will have to win the two remaining group fixtures to reach the knock-outs, providing Inter’s results go their way.
Though last season’s group stage elimination was no major surprise given Barcelona’s situation at the time, it’s hard to imagine the Spotify Camp Nou hierarchy forgiving Xavi another similar outcome this term.
All that promises to push Barcelona to their limits at the Bernabeu, which could prove counterproductive and allow Madrid to avenge a woeful 4-0 defeat in this corresponding fixture in 2021/22.
Los Merengues have enjoyed their best eight-match La Liga start since 1991/92, but their stellar domestic form should not tuck them into a false sense of security.
While Ancelotti’s team would be well advised to avoid complacency, it’s hard to overlook the fact they’ve overcome Barcelona in five of their last six encounters across all competitions (L1).
The second-most prolific player in El Clasico history will be out to make sure Madrid won’t slump this weekend as Karim Benzema braces himself for the 39th appearance in this fixture.
Only Lionel Messi (40) has more goal contributions in this iconic match-up than the French striker, who has amassed 11 goals and nine assists in 38 outings against Barcelona, taking his overall tally to 20.
Form often means nothing in this type of contest, but Barcelona will be pleased to know they’ve conceded just one goal in their opening eight La Liga matches.
Inspired by the joint-best defensive start at this stage of a top-flight season in Spain, the Blaugrana will make this journey in high spirits, looking to beat Madrid twice in a row for the first time since 2019.
Achieving that feat would also see Barcelona overtake Madrid in the La Liga H2H scoring stakes, as both sides have 295 goals to their name ahead of the kick-off.
Leading La Liga goalsocrer Robert Lewandowski will be eager to paint his maiden El Clasico appearance with flying colorus and add to his eye-catching nine-goal haul in Spain’s elite division.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona Potential Line-ups
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Andriy Lunin; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Ferland Mendy; Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni, Toni Kroos; Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Jules Kounde, Eric Garcia, Alejandro Balde; Gavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati.
How to Watch?
Madrid vs Barcelona, alongside all other Los Blancos’ fixtures, is available to watch online via live Real Madrid streaming. And if you’re more interested in following Barca, check out Barcelona live streams to avoid missing out on the Blaugrana matches.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona Prediction
Just kick back and enjoy. We expect a spectacle.
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