The second basketball Clásico of the season and the first at the Palau is coming up on Sunday at 6.30pm CET. The first meeting with Real Madrid, of course, was in the Super Cup in Vitoria, when Barça Lassa won a high-scoring battle 99-93. This will be first of two clashes between the sides in the Catalan capital this month – on November 18 they’ll meet again in the EuroLeague.
Barça are 4-1 in Liga Endesa play this season, while Real Madrid top the table with the only remaining 100 per cent record.
Madrid has signed some big, tough players for this season, especially Randolph and Hunter, while maintaining the bulk of their title winning roster. Llull, Rudy, Ayón, Reyes and Doncic all play central roles in Pablo Laso’s plans and are all available for the showdown at the Palau.
They’re also going strong in the EuroLeague, where they are 4-1 (their only defeat was a surprise home loss to Baskonia).
The home side are missing five players for the game: Navarro, Doellman, Claver, Lawal and Ribas, while new arrival Jonathan Holmes is still unable to make his debut.
Coach Bartzokas has had to draw on the reserve team just to make up a squad, and more than ever, the Palau support will be needed to push the Blaugrana through a game where the odds may seem to be stacked against them, but where the team is firmly convinced of its ability to pull through.