It's time. It's El Clasico yet again.
Barcelona v Real Madrid. It's that fixture when football fans from across the world, irrespective of their nationalities and the clubs they otherwise support, will line up in front of television sets to watch two of the world's most powerful, glamorous and successful clubs going toe-to-toe.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 6.50pm BST. Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky Sports 3D will provide live coverage of the game in the UK.
The fight between these two European giants is not just for bragging rights this time, but also - and more importantly - possibly to decide the fate of the La Liga season, sooner than ever before. Barcelona already have an eight-point lead over Madrid and yet another win for the Catalans will leave Los Blancos with an uphill struggle for the rest of the season as they attempt to claw back the deficit.
Neither Tito Vilanova nor Jose Mourinho would have wanted this match to be played just days after their Champions League games. So important is this fixture in the football calendar in Spain that it is usually arranged with a full week's break for both sides so the players will be fresh going into this massive tie - but not this time. Barcelona defeated Benfica 2-0 in Lisbon but the win came at a heavy price. The Catalans' influential skipper Carlos Puyol landed awkwardly during the game, dislocating his elbow, and will now miss at least six weeks of action. Madrid, on the other hand, demolished Ajax 4-1 in Amsterdam and managed to return unscathed.
Barcelona head into this tie on a magnificent eight-match winning streak in the league and European competitions. However, their only loss of the season came against Madrid, when they lost 2-1 at the Bernabeu in the Super Cup second leg.
- Last five (most recent first): W W W W W
- Last result: Benfica 0 - 2 Barcelona
- Last five (most recent first): W W W W L
- Last result: Ajax 1 - 4 Real Madrid
Barcelona: Puyol and Thiago Alcantara have been sidelined for the Catalans as they go into this crunch clash, while Gerard Pique will have a late fitness test. The 25-year-old has not played for two weeks due to a foot injury and is highly unlikely to start, leaving Vilanova with no option but to field a makeshift centre-back pair of midfielders Javier Mascherano and Alex Song. The manager, however, has enough names in all other areas on the field, so the likes of David Villa and Alexis Sanchez might only find a place on the bench.
Real Madrid: Mourinho has no injury or suspension worries and is likely to name the same line-up that won 2-1 at Camp Nou in April, which means Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria should return to the starting line-up. The biggest selection headache for the Portuguese will surely be over the playmaker role, with Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric, Kaka and Michael Essien all staking their claims this season with impressive performances.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Song, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Iniesta, Messi, Pedro
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema
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