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The two giants of Spanish football go head-to-head as they look for the three points to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Atlético Madrid. This Clásico (Saturday, 9.00pm CEST) is unique in the sense that it will be the first to be staged at the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium. After losing last time out at the Camp Nou, a win for Barça will see them draw level again in terms of the historic win record, with Real Madrid slightly ahead on 97 victories to Barça’s 96.
When and where to watch
Zinedine Zidane. The Los Blancos coach will have one eye on the Champions League second leg with Liverpool which comes just a few days after this game. It is his second meeting against Ronald Koeman, and he’ll be hoping for a third Clásico victory in a row.
Karim Benzema has hit a rich vein of form of late, scoring in seven of Real Madrid’s last eight games. His total of 18 overall is at least 13 better than any other player in the squad.
Currently in third place, just one position and two points behind Barça, Zidane’s side have 19 wins from their 29 games, six draws and four losses. They’ve scored 51 goals and conceded 23.
Real are unbeaten in their last 12 in all competitions, last losing against Levante at the end of January. They have conceded in six of their last seven matches.
The last 10 Clásico’s have seen an average of 2.7 goals per game. Messi, with 26 goals, is the top scorer in the history of this fixture, but hasn’t found the net in El Clásico since May 2018. This is an always titanic clash that also saw five goals from current Barça coach, Ronald Koeman.
Did you know?
Real Madrid have won their last two games against Barcça in all competitions, last winning three in row against them in 1978 (all three in LaLiga).
After winning 3-1 in the reverse fixture this season, Real Madrid are looking to complete a league double over Barça for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Barça have won five of their last seven away games against Real Madrid in all competitions (L2), though they lost last time out, 0-2 in LaLiga in March 2020.
Real Madrid have only lost one of their last 19 LaLiga games (W14 D4), 1-2 vs Levante in January 2021, after losing three of their previous six in the competition (W2 D1).
Barça have won their last nine away LaLiga games and could win 10 in a row away from home in a single season for the third time in their history – 10 in January 2011 under Pep Guardiola and 10 in January 2013 under Tito Vilanova and Jordi Roura.
Karim Benzema has failed to score in his last nine appearances against Barcelona in all competitions, his longest run without scoring against a single opponent as a Real Madrid player.
View from the bench
"We need the best Messi, but also the best Barça. We have to do things well in attack, making sure the passes create opportunities," Ronald Koeman said in his pre-match press conference.
"Real Madrid are a team that have played with various systems. Our job is to prepare for the game and for any system."
"Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto are two important players, not only for their quality but also for their personality and more so in a match like tomorrow."
"A Clásico is a different game from the rest. Barça are doing well and have achieved many points, which is something very positive."
Ronald Koeman has called up 23 players for this game. Both Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto have been passed fit after being out injured. The full squad is as follows: Ter Stegen, Dest, Piqué, R. Araujo, Sergio, Griezmann, Pjanic, Braithwaite, Messi, O. Dembélé, Riqui Puig, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincao, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Umtiti, Junior, Iñaki Peña, Ilaix Moriba, O. Mingueza and Arnau Tenas.
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