Barcelona and Real Madrid play the most important fixture of their season so far as they lock horns at the Camp Nou this week. El Clasico generally dominates the discourse in world football for at least two weeks every year and this Saturday's match is particularly important in the context of the La Liga title race.
Barcelona will be confident going into this fixture after their emphatic victory against Ferencvaros during the week. The Catalan giants have endured a dismal year so far and have a point to prove in this game.
Barcelona and Real Madrid share one of the most intense rivalries in world football
Real Madrid were shockingly poor in their first half against Shakhtar Donetsk and have plenty of work to do ahead of their trip to the Camp Nou. Zinedine Zidane cannot afford another catastrophe this month and will be desperate for a victory against Barcelona.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two biggest clubs in Spain and their rivalry has resulted in some memorable moments over the years. Both clubs have excellent players in their ranks and can potentially pick up a crucial victory this Saturday.
#5 Vinicius Junior vs Sergi Roberto
While Real Madrid were heavily dependent on the exploits of Karim Benzema last season, Vinicius Junior seems to be stepping up to the plate in a talismanic role in recent months. The pacy Brazilian winger has been one of the few bright spots in Real Madrid's underwhelming season so far and will likely be Real Madrid's chief threat in this game.
Sergi Roberto, on the other hand, is largely the same player he was last season and has been one of the few disappointing members of a Barcelona squad that has taken a positive turn in recent weeks under Ronald Koeman. The right-back can be defensively solid on his day, however, and will need to be at his best against Real Madrid's electric wingers.
The Barcelona full-back does have a fairly decent record against Vinicius Junior and often fared better than Nelson Semedo when the Catalans faced Real Madrid last season. El Clasico generally brings the best out of Sergi Roberto and with Vinicius Junior finding his feet at Real Madrid, Barcelona will need their utility man to pull a rabbit out of the hat this weekend.
#4 Ansu Fati vs Ferland Mendy
Ansu Fati is having the time of his life at Barcelona. The young winger has already broken a string of records both in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and could potentially set another against Real Madrid this weekend.
Real Madrid legend is currently the youngest scorer in El Clasico history and was 18 years and 3 months old when he scored his first goal against Barcelona. Ansu Fati turns 18 next week and will want to treat himself to an early record-breaking birthday present against Real Madrid on Saturday.
Ferland Mendy is likely to be in his way, however, and the Frenchman is perfectly capable of going toe-to-toe with the prodigious youngster. Zinedine Zidane fielded Mendy on the right flank against Shakhtar Donetsk and given Ansu Fati's pace, the Real Madrid manager is unlikely to change this particular aspect of his line-up.
Ansu Fati has already scored four goals for Barcelona this season and continues to show several positive signs against Ronald Koeman. The winger will meet his match in Ferland Mendy, however, and has to take it up a notch against Real Madrid.