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Únicament quatre punts separen tots dos equips / FOTO: ARXIU FCB

If there was ever a red letter day in the calendar, then this is the one. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to meet for the sixth time this season, and for the third time at the Camp Nou. And this time they’re as good as playing for the league title. If Barça win, they’ll get within a point of the leaders with just four games to play. But a draw (which would leave the current four point difference intact) and a Madrid win (which would increase the difference to seven points) would leave Josep Guardiola’s side in a very difficult situation indeed. At what is certain to be a packed Camp Nou, much of the league title is set to be decided.

Alexis in doubt

Guardiola has been preparing for tonight’s match with 21 players, 18 from the first team plus Montoya, Bartra and Tello from Barça B. All of Fontàs, Villa and Abidal are, of course, still unavailable while Afellay has yet to play since being declared fully fit ten days ago. And there are also doubts concerning the fitness of Alexis Sánchez, as Josep Guardiola revealed at his Friday press conference.

Champions League set to one side

Both Barça and Madrid are going into the clásico having just played the first legs of their respective Champions League semi finals. And what’s more, they are both faced with the challenge of having to turn around one goal deficits. But it would be too dangerous a distraction for either side to let their thoughts drift to their European commitments tonight, even though the outcome of tonight’s result could have a huge bearing on their morale against Bayern and Chelsea, respectively. Whoever comes out best tonight will also receive a massive boost for their hopes in the European semi finals.

Only one away defeat

Madrid have reasons of their own to feel optimistic. They have only lost one of their 16 away fixtures in the league this season (1-0 at Levante), having won 13 and only drawn twice (0-0 in Santander and 1-1 at Vila-real). But they suffered defeat on Tuesday in Munich (2-1) and José Mourinho’s side have also failed to beat FC Barcelona in any of their last seven attempts. The last Madrid win was in last season’s Copa del Rey Final on April 20, 2011. Let’s hope that negative run continues…


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