Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two fierce rivals, take on each other in la Liga derby on Sunday night. El Clasico could well decided the champion, meaning that we are about to see a lively contest at Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid faced all sorts of problems at Malaga at the weekend, but los Blancos eventually recorded a 1-0 win. Thanks to this win Carlo Ancelotti's men stayed at the top in la Liga standings, four points clear of Barcelona and three clear of Atletico Madrid. In midweek, the capital club extended their winning run, with the team beating Schalke 3-1 in the Champions League last 16, second leg. Real Madrid now face Barcelona in El Clasico and should they happen to win Sunday's showdown los Blancos would be on the verge of clinching the title in the national championship. Earlier this season Carlo Ancelotti's men were beaten by Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou and it has to be noted that the team have not suffered a loss ever since. A man to watch in the home side will be Cristiano Ronaldo, who seems to be breaking records every other week.
Alvaro Arbeloa, Sami Khedira and Jese Rodriguez are all out of contention with injuries, while Sergio Ramos returns to the starting line-up having missed the Malaga game through suspension. Benzema should recover in time to face Barcelona.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Lopez – Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo – Alonso, Modric, Di Maria – Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Barcelona head into El Clasico following a 7-0 demolition of Osasuna in their last league fixture. Despite the big win, the Catalans have not been impressive under Gerardo Martino and they are unlikely to defend la Liga title. Barca sit in third place in the standings, four points adrift of their bitter rivals Real Madrid, meaning that the Catalan side face do or die situation on Sunday evening. Should they happen to suffer a defeat in El Clasico, Gerardo Martino's men would definitely lose all chances to lift yet another trophy in the national championship. Leo Messi has been raising his form week by week and he is always highly motivated when playing against Real Madrid. The Argentine striker will be looking to prove his worth in El Clasico, but I am not sure if he is capable of helping his team avoid defeat at Santiago Bernabeu. The best the visitors can do is to find the net and I believe that there is a certain value in betting on both teams to score.
Isaac Cuenca and Jonathan dos Santos remain on the sidelines. Carles Puyol is doubtful for the match, but Gerardo Martino has no other fresh injury worries ahead of the derby.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Valdes – Dani Alves, Pique, Masherano, Alba – Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta – Pedro, Messi, Sanchez.
Big stake on both teams to score