Barcelona v Real Madrid – Camp Nou at 20:00 GMT

Another chapter of the greatest fixture in the world of football is about to take place when two giants of the Spanish top flight meet this Wednesday for the first leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinals. Famous rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid will once again face each other at Camp Nou, and this El Clasico will definitely produce several goals once again.

The Catalan giants will be entering this match, aiming to lift the trophy for the fifth consecutive time this year. With Real Madrid’s poor record in the Copa Del Rey, it is possible for Barcelona to comfortably win this fixture. Barcelona dropped some points when they drew with Valencia on Saturday. There was even some talks that the Barcas will sacrifice the Copa Del Rey title but it looks like there won’t be any sacrifices happening now since they will be facing long-time rivals Real Madrid.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, haven’t won the competition since 2014, and it is possible that this year couldn’t be any different. There is added pressure for Santiago Solari’s men this time, especially considering the slim chances of them securing the title in the Spanish top flight this season. They did reduce their gap against Barcelona to 8 points when they won against Alaves in a comfortable 3-0 win on Sunday. Even though Real Madrid encountered some ups and downs this season, they were still able to play good football, winning 5 of their previous matches in all competitions and 7 of their previous 8.

Ernesto Valverde will be without key player Lionel Messi and several players due to injury, but they still have enough firepower especially with the likes of Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, and Philippe Coutinho. At the 3rd spot in the table and 8 points below Barcelona, Real Madrid shouldn’t be underestimated, especially since they have Ballon d’Or holder Luka Modric along with Karim Benzema, and Casemiro.

LATEST NEWS

–          Lionel Messi is in doubt after suffering from a thigh injury during their 2-2 draw against Valencia over the weekend, although it was reported that the injury was not serious.

–          Ousmane Dembele remains a doubtful even though he already returned to training.

–          Jasper Cillessen is currently suffering from a torn calf muscle.

–          Samuel Umtiti has not played since November after acquiring a knee injury.

–          Real Madrid’s Jesus Vallejo and Luca Zidane will be unavailable both due to hamstring injuries.

PROBABLE STARTING XI

Barcelona:

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur Melo , Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho

Real Madrid:

Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Reguilon, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior

KEY PLAYERS

Barcelona

Luis Suarez’s will definitely go all out in this match. With Lionel Messi doubtful to feature in the first leg of this semifinals match, it will be on Suarez to go fill up Messi’s absence. The Uruguayan national was in an outstanding form when the Barcas demolished Real Madrid earlier in the season at their home turf. A much better Luis Suarez should be expected in this massive fixture.

Real Madrid

Vinicius Junior has been quite a star lately. This Real Madrid wonderkid has been becoming vital for the team this season. He has blossoming and becoming one of Real’s best players ever since the departure of Julen Lopetegui in October last year. This teenager has been on fire lately especially in the Copa Del Rey and he will definitely be looking forward to keep his momentum on Wednesday’s El Clasico.

MATCH PREDICTION

Barcelona v Real Madrid: 3-1

The battle between these two rivals is always a thrilling one and lives up to the hype. However, there can only be one team who will come out victorious on Wednesday. Real Madrid’s devastating 5-1 defeat on their latest visit to the Camp Nou was their fifth loss in six matches which led to the sacking of Julen Lopetegui. Recently, they won each of their previous four matches throughout all competitions and will be aiming to keep their consistency and give much more of themselves when they face their opponents. Meanwhile, league leaders Barcelona will be aiming to keep their title hopes alive when they enter Wednesday’s clash. Expect both teams to show up in confidence and deliver quite a performance. If there’s one thing these two teams are known for, it’s goals. And plenty of it.

MATCH BETTING ODDS

*Prices are correct at the time of writing.

By @EliaasMJ

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