The 2020-21 edition of La Liga returns this weekend with one of the most intense rivalries in world football as Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in a high-octane fixture that could potentially determine the early favourites in the title race. Both Spanish giants have endured their fair share of troubles in La Liga this season and need a victory on Saturday.
Barcelona slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Getafe last week but staged a recovery in the UEFA Champions League with an excellent 5-1 victory against Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros. The Catalans have revamped their squad under Ronald Koeman and will want to prove a point in this game.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, have suffered consecutive defeats over the past week and are in desperate need of a boost of morale. Zinedine Zidane expressed confidence in his side following their shock loss to Shakhtar Donetsk and will have to ensure that his stars are at their best against Barcelona.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid Head-to-Head
Barcelona's rivalry with Real Madrid often transcends the realm of sport but as far as the footballing head-to-head record is concerned, the two Spanish giants are on an even footing. Real Madrid and Barcelona have recorded 96 victories apiece from a total of 244 games and will want to edge ahead in this fixture.
The previous La Liga meeting between these two sides ended in a 2-0 victory for Real Madrid, with Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz getting on to the scoresheet. Both sides have undergone phases of transition since the game, however, and will look to make a fresh start in El Clasico this weekend.
Barcelona form guide in La Liga: L-D-W-W
Real Madrid form guide in La Liga: L-W-W-W-D
Barcelona vs Real Madrid Team News
Neto is set for an extended stay in Barcelona's goal with Marc-Andre ter Stegen unavailable for the Catalans. Samuel Umtiti is also injured and will not feature in the squad this week.
Antoine Griezmann was rested against Ferencvaros and is likely to play a part in the game. The Frenchman has endured a difficult few months at Barcelona and will have to take it up a notch in this game.
Injured: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Matheus Fernandes
Real Madrid have injury issues of their own with both Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola sidelined for this game. Ferland Mendy and Marcelo started in the full-back positions against Shakhtar Donetsk and are likely to keep their places in the starting eleven.
While Sergio Ramos will return to the fold for this game, Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard have been unable to recover in time and will not feature against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Karim Benzema was used as a substitute in the Champions League this week and is sure to lead the line for Real Madrid in this game.
Injured: Eden Hazard, Martin Odegaard, Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola
Doubtful: Mariano Diaz
Barcelona vs Real Madrid Predicted XI
Barcelona Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Neto; Sergino Dest, Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto; Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets; Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann; Lionel Messi
Real Madrid Predicted XI (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ferland Mendy; Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior
Barcelona vs Real Madrid Prediction
Real Madrid have been dismal by their standards in the last two games and Barcelona will look to drive home their momentary boost in form at the Camp Nou. The dimensions of the stadium will suit the Catalans and the likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Ansu Fati will have to seize the initiative this Saturday.
Real Madrid have several issues to resolve in their line-up and will need to be defensively robust against a Barcelona side that is starting to find its feet. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior can singlehandedly win games on their day and will have to pull a few rabbits out of their hats in this game.
While Real Madrid are perfectly equipped to take something away from this game, Barcelona are the in-form side at the moment and are well-placed to pip their arch-rivals to a victory.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid
Published 22 Oct 2020, 13:36 IST