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Jawai in Spanish Supercup / FOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

Six and a half months after defeating Real Madrid to win the Lliga Endesa with a thrilling 73-69 win in the fifth play-off game, Barça Regal again face their biggest rival this evening at the Palau (19.00). Madrid come into the game as unbeaten league leaders after 14 games and will be playing for the chance to set a new record for a start to the league, but as Pascual’s players showed in their 100-78 win over Fehenbarce Ulker on Friday, they are themselves getting back up to speed and ready to take a win that would confirm a Spanish Cup berth.

Barça will be without the injured Joe Ingles, with Jawai coming in to replace him and Martynas Pocius is a doubt for the visitors with a foot problem.

Plenty to attract a big crowd

Once again, Barça will be looking for the Palau crowd to spur them on and a full house is expected for what should be a very attractive game, with three of the league’s highest rated players–Tomic, Llull and Mirotic– on show, plus the first ever meeting in a “classico” between Navarro and Rudy Fernández. The game will set the league’s best defence against the leading attacking unit and be the 17th clash between coaches Pascual and Laso, with the Barça man having won 10 of the previous encounters.

Jasikevicius claimed on Saturday that “the team who are most aggressive in attack and defence will end up winning”, but whatever the result, this will be a clash of titans between the two teams who have been the finalists in the last four ACB competitions, winning two each. Barça won the Spanish Super Cup and the Liga Endesa last season, whist Madrid took the Spanish Cup and won the final of the Endesa Super Cup 84-95 against a Barça team without the injured Navarro and Jasikevicius.

History on Barça’s side

Although Madrid are coming into the game on the back of a great run, history is very much on Barça’s side, with 48 wins against 37 in the 85 games between the two at the Palau – with eight wins for the home team in the last ten meetings between the two in Barcelona. Real Madrid have not won at the Palau in a regular season game since the 2005/06 season. In a game like “el classico”, there can be no pre-match favourites, but there is certainly plenty of desire to win.

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