El Clasico Preview: Barcelona, Real Madrid aim for strong comeback

La Liga club FC Barcelona will host fellow heavyweight Real Madrid CF at its Camp Nou stadium in the first El Clasico of the 2020-21 season.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos with match officials before last December's El Clasico (File Photo).   -  Getty Images

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid had lost their La Liga games last weekend, and will be eager to make an impact in the first El Clasico of the 2020-21 season on Saturday.

However, Barca was able to put the 1-0 away loss to Getafe aside, thumping Hungarian side Ferencváros 5-1 in the UEFA Champions League, despite being reduced 10-men after Gerard Pique was shown a red card in the 68th minute.

READ | Empty Clasico reflects current state of both sides

Meanwhile, Real's woes continued as it slumped to a second consecutive home defeat -- 0-1 against Cadiz in the La Liga and 2-3 against Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League Group B encounter.

A trip to Camp Nou, with or without fans, is going to be difficult for the Los Blancos, considering the potential absence of club captain Sergio Ramos due to a knock. Ramos also missed the midweek Shakhtar clash.

Head-to-head: (244 matches - Barcelona 96 | Real Madrid 96 | Draw 52)

The two Spanish heavyweights have faced each other in 244 competitive games, which include 180 outings in the La Liga, 35 in the Copa del Rey and eight in the Champions League.

How did the previous El Clasico pan out?

 

A few weeks before the La Liga was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic, Real Madrid hosted Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 1, Sunday.

Second-half goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz guided the home side to a 2-0 victory, which was crucial in its run to the 2019-20 Spanish top division title.

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How are the teams placed on the points table?

 

Barca currently occupies the ninth spot in the La Liga standings, with seven points from four games, which include two wins, a draw and a loss. The team has played two matches less than leader Real Sociedad (11 points from six outings).

On the other hand, Real is placed third, with 10 points from four games. A victory for the side from Madrid can possibly take it to the top of the points table on Saturday, with Sociedad and second-placed Villarreal (11 points) not playing until Sunday.

FORM GUIDE:

Barcelona - The home side has three victories, one loss and one draw from its last five matches in all competitions.

Real Madrid - The away team has three wins and two losses from its previous five games in all competitions.

SQUADS:

Barcelona -  Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Neto, Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Sergio Busquets, Carles Alena, Miralem Pjanic, Riqui Puig, Matheus Fernandes, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie De Jong, Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Pedri, Francisco Trincao, Ansu Fati.

Real Madrid - Thibaut Courtois, Nacho Fernandez, Raphael Varane, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Rodrygo, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric, Eden Hazard, Marcelo, Isco, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior, Andriy Lunin, Luka Jovic, Mariano Diaz, Martin Odegaard, Alvaro Odriozola.

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