Oleson, one of the men who played in the final of the Super Cup at the beginning of October / PHOTO: ACB

The ACB super clásicos between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have become one of the sporting highlights of the festive season.  Last year saw a superb performance from Juan Carlos Navarro in the Palau (33 points), but this year the action switches to Madrid’s Palacio de los Deportes where a capacity crowd of more than 12.000 spectators will be expecting another victory from the unbeaten home side.  Just one thing stands in their way - FC Barcelona.

Barça looking strong

The Barça players go into the game in good shape, well aware of the dangers posed by Real Madrid in their home arena, but with sufficient experience in big matches to compete with the best.  Tonight’s duel (7 pm, La 1 and Orange Arena) will be a tough test for both sides.

Since the recent slip-up away to CSKA Moscow, the players coached by Xavi Pascual have steadied the ship with fours wins on the bounce.  Although three of these victories came against relatively modest opposition, coach Xavi Pascual will no doubt be delighted with the focus shown by his players.

A return to the consistency and solidity shown by the team at the beginning of the current season led to numerous chances in the recent game against Gran Canaria but a lack of finishing power kept the score line low.  The players have been working hard in training to convert pressure into points.

The full squad has made the trip to Madrid, though Marko Todorovic is still troubled by a sore oblique muscle.  Xavi Pascual will have the last word on team selection in the hours leading up to the game.

The opponent

Real Madrid is the bookmakers’ favourite for today’s match.  They are unbeaten and go into the clash on the back of a spectacular run of 24 straight victories in all competitions this season.  They’ve won all 12 games in the Endesa League, though they struggled a little in the last game against Joventut Badalona (68-72).

Real Madrid
are playing entertaining, free-scoring basketball, and in former Estudiantes and NBA star Sergio Rodríguez, have a real match-winner.  His maturity and vision have made him the leader of talented bunch of players that includes Rudy, Llull and Felipe.

Facts and Stats

The two teams have met 175 times in the league.  Real Madrid has won 94, FC Barcelona 80.  In 1974, they drew 85-85.

This will be the 87th game between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in the Spanish capital.  Honours are divided 56-30.

It will be clásico appearance number 51 for Juan Carlos Navarro in the ACB, equalling Epi and Jiménez.

Xavi Pascual is taking on Real Madrid for the 39th time.  Honours are divided 23-15 in his favour.

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