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Mosaic Gràcies Johan English

Yet another episode in the story of world football’s greatest rivalry is upon us, with FC Barcelona hosting Real Madrid at 8.30pm CET in the Camp Nou on Saturday night. In the first fixture since the death of the great Johan Cruyff, home victory would widen the gap between the two teams to a massive thirteen points with just seven games left to play.  

Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic have all been requiring treatment over last few days, but have all made Luis Enrique's squad that was announced on Saturday morning. However, Jérémy Mathieu suffered a meniscus tear playing for France midweek and Adriano is also out with a hamstring injury while Aleix Vidal, Douglas and Masip were not selected.

Real Madrid also received bad news from the French international camp, with Raphael Varane unavailable this weekend due to an undetermined injury, but it would seem that Sergio Ramos is fully recovered from his back injury.

Coaches' viewpoint

Speaking on the eve of the game, Barça boss Luis Enrique said: “Games like these generate so much energy in the players that I have absolutely no concern about the number of miles they might have travelled this week … From what we can tell from Real Madrid’s last few games, they have different options. But we won’t change our way of playing. We’ll try to control the ball. There is only one and we’ll try to make it ours.”

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane commented that “we have prepared well and are in good form. We will see the BBC shine against Barcelona. I will sleep peacefully on Friday night and enjoy my first Clásico as a coach.” The Frenchman also insisted that Wednesday’s Champions League quarter final with Wolfsburg will not condition his approach to the tie. "For me, the most important game is the match on Saturday” he told the press. “I'll put the best team out.”

Form guide

Barça have probably never come into a Clásico in stronger form, and could stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to 40 games on Saturday, expanding on what is already a Spanish record. The Catalans have won 20 of their last 22 games at the Camp Nou Their last outing was a 2-2 draw at Villarreal, the first time they had dropped points in thirteen Liga matches!

Since home defeat to Atlético Madrid moved Real Madrid even further away from the top of the Liga table, the all-whites have strung together four wins in the domestic championship, including 7-1 and 4-0 trouncings of Celta and Sevilla. They also saw off AS Roma in the Champions League, which is now the only competition in which they have a realistic chance of collecting a trophy.

History

This fixture dates back to 1902, when FC Barcelona won the first meeting between the sides 3-1. It is now a regular number one lists of the world’s greatest rivalries not just in football, but in sport in general. However, the use of the term ‘Clásico’, adopted from the Latin American tradition, is a relatively new phenomenon, having only come into popular usage in reference to this game around the turn of the century.

Although Barça have been winning most of the trophies in the last half-decade, results in the Clásico have tended to go both ways. The famous 4-0 win at the Bernabéu earlier this season was the first time in 19 meetings that both sides had not scored. Madrid’s last win at the Camp Nou was in the Copa del Rey in 2013, and a year before that they won 2-1 in the league.

Coverage

No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.


FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - 1 day to go until... por fcbarcelona
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