Real Madrid host Barcelona tonight in the first of two Clasicos taking place this week.
Spain’s arch-rivals meet in the second leg of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday with the tie poised at 1-1 following a draw at the Nou Camp at the start of February.
Barcelona crushed Los Blancos on their own turf back in September with a 5-1 La Liga defeat in Catalonia costing Julen Lopetegui his job.
Real were a
A 2-1 defeat at home to Girona and a very unconvincing win away to Levante on Sunday have hardly been ideal preparation, however.
After an underwhelming February that saw Barcelona pick up just one win in five – that sole win a narrow one at home to Valladolid – Ernesto Valverde’s side ended the month in style against Sevilla on Saturday with Lionel Messi hitting the peaks that will once again make him the most dangerous man on the pitch on Wednesday.
In front of their own supporters, Real will now be looking to end Barcelona’s dominance of this competition which stretches back to 2015.
Barcelona team news
Barcelona will be without midfielder Arthur for the second leg clash with Copa goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen also unavailable as he continues to recover from a calf injury.
Samuel Umtiti is back and 100 percent fit, according to his manager, after over three months out with a knee injury.
Real Madrid team news
Los Blancos were without their skipper Sergio Ramos on Sunday as he served a one-match suspension but the Spaniard is certain to return to the starting XI midweek.
Isco, now a peripheral figure under Santiago Solari, remains unavailable due to a back issue.
Real Madrid XI: Navas; Reguilon, Varane, Ramos, Carvajal; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Vinicius, Benzema, Lucas
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Semedo; Busquets, Rakitic, Alena; Dembele, Suarez, Messi