Real Madrid v Barcelona – Santiago Bernabeu at 20:00 GMT

An El Clasico is set to take place once again when Real Madrid v Barcelona happen for the second time in the span of four days at the Bernabeu. The league title is within the reach of Barcelona if they manage to come out victorious this Wednesday in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey fixture against Real. The first leg concluded in a 1-1 draw, and if things turn out the same way, Real will be the one to advance to the final. Whatever the results may be, these two Spanish archrivals never fail to keep everyone amused.

Real Madrid’s campaign this season has truly been a rollercoaster. Even though they won three of their previous four Champions League, it seems they weren’t always playing to their full potential. Things took a turn for the worst when they lost star player Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Zinedine Zidane last summer. Zidane’s replacement, Julen Lopetegui, lasted just a few months and was immediately replaced by Santiago Solari who took the challenge of bringing back Real’s terrific form.

Despite being seated at the 3rd spot in the La Liga rankings, Real Madrid will enter this match in a less impressive shape. They were able to win against Levante on Sunday, but they also lost to Girona at home. They were once again fortunate to claim the win against Ajax in the Champions League. However, they will need consistency if they want to come out victorious against the Catalan giants.

Barcelona are obviously the side with greater power. The visitors would definitely feature their strongest starting eleven. With Lionel Messi fit and full-blown firing again, even teams with star-studded players can’t be compared to Messi, who is on a different playing level compared to everyone else. Luis Suarez is also expected to feature on Wednesday’s clash. However, Real Madrid has the home advantage and will definitely use this to try to end Barcelona’s supremacy in the competition.

LATEST NEWS

–          Barcelona will be without Arthur for the second leg clash against Real.

–          Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen will also be missing out since he is currently recovering from a calf injury.

–          Samuel Umtiti is expected to return after being out for over 3 months due to a knee injury.

–          Real Madrid’s Isco will remain unavailable due to a back problem.

PROBABLE FORMATION & STARTING XI

Real Madrid: 4-3-3

Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior

Barcelona: 4-3-3

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho

KEY PLAYERS

Real Madrid

Karim Benzema is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. He recently extended his goal-scoring record to 209 goals across all competitions for Real Madrid. His goals have also been involved in most of Real’s crucial matches. An El Clasico won’t be stopping him anytime soon.

Barcelona          

Lionel Messi recently scored his 50th hat-trick on Saturday against Sevilla. Dubbed as the greatest football player in the world, Lionel Messi doesn’t disappoint especially when it comes to face-offs with their archrivals Real Madrid.

MATCH PREDICTION

Real Madrid v Barcelona: 1-2

A win for the Barcas seems to be on the cards. Ernesto Valverde’s side saw an underwhelming start to the month, claiming just one victory in five matches. However, Ernesto Valverde has the most dangerous man on the pitch leading the team.

Real Madrid doesn’t seem to be fully-equipped to take on a Lionel Messi-led Barcelona without their star player Cristiano Ronaldo. The Los Blancos shouldn’t be underestimated though since they will be playing in front of their supporters. Everyone knows that the Santiago Bernabeu is a challenging place to visit for even the best of teams.

One thing’s for sure though. An El Clasico is always a thrilling and an entertaining match.

MATCH BETTING ODDS:

*Prices are correct at the time of writing.

By @EliaasMJ

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