Mickeal and Tomic with Rudy / PHOTO: ARCHIVE - FCB

The moment of truth has arrived. Like in years past, the Copa del Rey provides the ideal venue to see which team is the best. This Thursday (19.00, TVE) Barça Regal and real Madrid will face off in the first play-off match of the quarter-finals. The venue: the Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria. The match: a true and authentic monument to the sport of basketball.

The Clásico will bring together the best team of the Liga Endesa and the only team that managed to beat them; two clashing philosophies, and 40 minutes of high-voltage action.

Voracious offence on one end; solid defence on the other

The devastating accuracy of the men led by Pablo Laso is unquestionable. With Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernández and Nikola Mirotic as the highest scorers, Los Blancos boast the best offence in the league with an average of 89.2 points per match. The danger the Madrid-based team bring to the court doesn’t end with their shooting, they also have a very strong bench. Jaycee Carroll and Sergio Rodríguez often put in extraordinary performances to round out a team that can score from any zone of the court. “They have a unique roster,” said Xavi Pascual.

On the other hand, the Blaugrana build their game on their defence. With an average of 72.2 points conceded per match, Xavi Pascual’s men are the second best defensive team in the league. Going into the quarter-finals, it will be crucial to contain Los Blancos and avoid giving clear counterattack opportunities.

Navarro - Rudy, Marcelinho - Llull...

It would be impossible to highlight each and every match-up that the Clásico offers. It’s evident, however, that the leaders of the two teams will be Juan Carlos Navarro - if he plays - and Rudy Fernández. Marcelinho Huertas and Sergio Llull will be tasked with directing the tempo of the game, while Ante Tomic and Erazem Lorbek will have to be at their best to get the better of their counterparts, Felipe Reyes and Marcus Slaughter.

Blaugrana dominance over the years

The two teams have faced off 17 times in the Copa del Rey: six times in the quarter-finals, four in the semi-finals and seven in the final. The record lies in Barça Regal’s favour with 14 wins from the 17 encounters.

In terms of quarter-finals fixtures, like the one this evening, the two teams have played each other six times and the Blaugrana have always showed themselves to be a force to be reckoned with. Barça have won five times and only been defeat once by Los Blancos in this stage of the competition.

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