Chuck Eidson has played against Real Madrid three times and won all of them / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

2012 will start with the clásico of the Liga Endesa. The best offence of the league, Real Madrid’s, and the best defence, Barça Regal’s, will face off against each other. The two teams have the same objectives: Achieve victory, deal a morale blow to the rival and gain top spot in the table. “This game is different to the rest. There are many incentives. Real Madrid likes to run at you but I believe our defence is capable of stopping them. It will be an important game to see how both teams are doing, but it is not, by any means, a definitive match,” said Marcelinho Huertas.

Barça Regal, reigning champions of the Liga Endesa, will go into the Palacio de Deportes as leaders of the league with 11 victories and 2 defeats. Real Madrid is currently second, with one more defeat than the Azulgranas. If Pablo Laso’s men win by two or more points, they will climb to the top of the table. If not, Xavi Pascual’s men will continue in first place. Víctor Sada, the second captain of the team, is clear: “we are leaders of the Liga Endesa and we are on a great run against Real Madrid. We want to maintain it and, if we can, increase it. Maybe we aren’t in the best physical condition but we are totally motivated.”

Favourable balance for Barça

In the last 10 clásicos in the league at Madrid, Barça have come away with six victories and four defeats. With Xavi Pascual as manager, counting all four competitions, the balance is in Barça’s favour: 15 victories and only 4 defeats. The last time the teams met was in the semifinals of the Super Cup this past September in Bilbao, Barça won 74 to 70.

Without Navarro and Perovic

The Azulgranas will be without their captain, Juan Carlos Navarro, who is recuperating from the plantar fascia in his left foot, an injury he picked up against Caja Laboral. The captain has scored the most points (462) and played the most clásicos (37) of all the current Barça Regal squad members. “It’s important that Navarro won’t be able to play, but those of us that have come to Madrid know that we have the potential to beat any team and we’ve come here to do it,” said Marcelinho Huertas. Kosta Perovic, with severe back pain, will also miss out on the clash with Real Madrid.

Erazem Lorbek’s availability is doubtful for the match. The forward sprained his left ankle in Barça’s last match against Assignia Manresa. Lorbeck has travelled with the team to Madrid, further tests will indicate if the player is match fit before the game.

The young players from the reserve side, José Pérez and Papa Abdoulaye Mbaye complete Xavi Pascual’s roster for tonight’s game.

Xavi Pascual i Pablo Laso

Aquest dimecres a Madrid es viurà un nou duel a les banquetes entre Xavi Pascual i Pablo Laso. Fins ara s’han enfrontat en set ocasions i el balanç és de sis victòries a una favorable a l’entrenador del Barça Regal. Els sis primers duels particulars van ser amb Laso com a entrenador del Lagun Aro GBC, i l’últim s'ha disputat ja amb ell com a tècnic del Reial Madrid. Per a Xavi Pascual, la clau d’aquest Clàssic podria ser el tir exterior. Pablo Laso es decanta pel control del rebot.

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