Spain: The “El clásico” game between Real Madrid and Barcelona could potentially decide the title race.
With Atletico Madrid slipping and allowing Real Madrid and Barcelona to catch up, the title race in the La Liga has intensified with just a few matches to go.
Simeone’s men looked like the only favorites for the title after opening up an unsurmountable number of points between themselves and their opponents before the turn of this year.
But a couple of poor performances and an upturn of form for the biggest clubs in Spain has seen the narrative change in recent weeks.
Barcelona, who few weeks ago had no hopes of winning the trophy, are now in second place with just a point separating them and Atletico Madrid, thanks to their late victory earlier this week, while Real Madrid are also just two points behind their Catalan rivals and three behind the league leaders.
The “El clásico” thus comes at the right time as the title race heats up and it could be fiercer than it has been in recent years…
El clásico: Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Tomorrow’s fixture will be the 182nd La Liga game between Spain’s two most successful clubs, with Real Madrid leading with 74 victories as against Barcelona’s 72.
With a long history, stretching to several years back, it remains as one of the most renowned rivalry fixture in world football.
However, the fixture in the last two years has not gathered a lot of following, owing to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Juventus and an uninspiring output by both clubs in the last two seasons.
With the title race now heating up and potentially becoming a decider for the trophy, the hope is that a classic El clásico will be served on Saturday.
Real Madrid have a lot of injury concerns heading into the game, with the likes of Ramos and Carvajal all doubts for the fixture.
Sergio Ramos is currently battling a calf problem and is likely to sit this game out, while the fixture will also come too soon for Dani Carvajal, who is yet to recover from a thigh issue.
Central defender Varane is also unavailable after testing positive for coronavirus.
The good news, however, is that Eden Hazard could potentially make his return from a muscular problem, alongside Federico Valverde who is also returning from an injury.
For the Catalans, Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati are still sidelined with knee injuries and are unavailable for the fixture.
Veteran defender, Gerard Pique is also unavailable for the game as he is yet to recover from a knee injury. His spot could be filled by either Oscar Mingueza, Frenkie de Jong or Clement Lenglet.
Possible starting lineup
This is how we expect the teams to lineup tomorrow.
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Mingueza, De Jong, Lenglet; Dest, Pedri, Busquets, Alba; Griezmann, Messi, Dembele
The El clásico is certainly not the only fixture taking place this week. Some attention will also be given to Atletico Madrid when they take on Real Betis on Sunday as another slip could see them dropping from first place.
Below are the fixtures for week 30 of the 2020/2021 La Liga season.
FRIDAY 9TH APRIL
- Huesca 20:00 Elche
SATURDAY 10TH APRIL
- Getafe 13:00 Cádiz
- Athletic Bilbao 15:15 Alavés
- Eibar 17:30 Levante
- Real Madrid 20:00 Barcelona
SUNDAY 11TH APRIL
- Villarreal 13:00 Osasuna
- Valencia 15:15 Real Sociedad
- Real Valladolid 17:30 Granada
- Real Betis 20:00 Atlético Madrid