El Clasico: Barcelona vs Real Madrid - Combined XI
For the first time in 11 years, there's going to be a Clasico with neither Messi nor Ronaldo featuring in it. Sounds really strange, but it does little to dampen the atmosphere ahead of the highly anticipated clash.
Both teams have had their fare share of problems this season, stuttering to get off in the league. The Blaugrana have already drawn thrice and lost once, but still find themselves at the top of the table currently. Circumstances, however, are far more grim in the Madrid camp: without a win in the last four games, three of which ended in a defeat, thereby relegating them down to seventh with only 14 points from 9 games.
Julen Lopetegui is walking on eggshells, and another poor result here, is highly likely to get him the sack. Also, the final scoreline would be a testament to how these teams are rebuilding from the early-season wobbles.
Here's how Barcelona and Real Madrid would look in a combined XI sans the 'big two':
Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre Ter Stegan
The German hasn't had much success with the clean sheets so far, keeping just two in 9 appearances and conceding 11 already. But it could've been much worse for Barcelona without him, having made 27 saves in the process. So it isn't that he has been poor in goal, but just not given enough cover by an uncharacteristically sloppy Barcelona defence.
Ter Stegan remains a reliable pair of hands and in fact, in the four years since arriving at the Spanish shores, has gone to establish himself as one of the best goalkeepers. He has lost out on the Zamora Trophy only to Atletico's Jan Oblak in each of the last two seasons, and has also played crucial role in the trophies picked up in that period.
He wouldn't have much problems dispelling the threats coming to the likes of Bale and Benzema (if any).