A possible El Clasico in Copa Del Rey semis: Advantage Barcelona or Real Madrid?
Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto, and Lionel Messi, all scored to send Sevilla straight outta Copa Del Rey. Carrying a 2-0 lead into the second leg, Sevilla could do little to stop a rampant Barcelona. Barcelona now go into the semis chasing their 5th successive Copa Del Rey title.
Now elsewhere in the outskirts of Catalonia region, Real Madrid will be facing Girona in the second leg of their quarter-finals. Madrid, unlike Barcelona, leads 2-0 from the first leg and are favourites to proceed. So here is the deal, fans from both sides have been buzzing on the possible El Clasicos that would take place if the teams get drawn opposite to each other in semis.
An El Clasico, even if it is friendly, is a match of utmost importance. Perhaps the most important game in football history, more important than any trophy or league title. It looks amazing on paper. Back in 2009-10, Barcelona and Real Madrid faced each other 5 times. In the Champions League semis, in the Copa Del Rey finals, and in the league twice.
So let's say that it happens. There is a good chance that it might. Who has the upper hand?
Note: It is convenient to use a single time zone. We are sticking to IST here. Games usually take place early morning at 1:00 or so. Please understand the problem of analyzing in accordance with Spanish time.
Fixtures preceding and succeeding the possible Clasico
Let us introspect, shall we? The Copa Del Rey semi-final fixtures took place one week after the quarters last year. One week flat. That is all the time you get to prepare.
So if the first leg, which by our assumption takes place on 6th and 7th of February going by IST, then the teams only have two to four days for their next league game.
Bernabeu will be host to the Madrid Derby on 9th February, Saturday. Then they have to face Ajax on the 14th in the UEFA Champions League. Meanwhile, the second leg of Copa Del Rey semis usually takes place, one week after the first leg. The second leg won't take place on 14th because of the UCL clash, so maybe they will move it later.
Now for the Blaugrana. Sticking with IST, during which games take place early 1:30 am or so. They face Athletic Bilbao on 11th February. The first leg won't create fixture congestions but the second leg would.
Valladolid is up on 17th and then Lyon is up in Europe on 20th. RFEF, how are you going to deal with this? The first leg is fine but then you have two consecutive weeks of European football and both Barca and Madrid play in different weeks.
Either way, all hell will break loose with these fixture congestions. For both Madrid and Barcelona, this is trouble. After the first leg, Madrid is still under pressure for the Derby and the date with Ajax.
Barcelona will be in deep trouble when it comes to scheduling the second leg. It is unclear what they will schedule. 14th, Madrid play. 15th, you cannot schedule a game after one day of a European game. Both teams play on 17th, so no game on 16th and 18th.
Then on 20th Barcelona play Lyon, so name game on 19th and 21st. It is just so confusing. 24th, both teams have a league game. How is the schedule going to be prepared? Will the semi-final second leg drag on till February last week?
Players will be in a busy schedule already. Dropping a Clasico in before, in-between or after these fixtures will just be bad for the players. Rotations are a must here. So now let's examine the injuries and bench strength.