Real Madrid, Barcelona aim to sustain La Liga momentum ahead of El Clasico

The two teams are locked in a battle for first place with 19 points from the first seven matches before the El Clasico on October 16.

Barcelona will be banking on the firepower of Robert Lewandowski to win the El Clasico on October 16.

Barcelona will be banking on the firepower of Robert Lewandowski to win the El Clasico on October 16. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The two teams are locked in a battle for first place with 19 points from the first seven matches before the El Clasico on October 16.

Normal service has resumed in LaLiga with bitter rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona jostling for supremacy after last season when the Catalan giants were never in contention.

After Real Madrid dropped its first points of the campaign in a 1-1 home draw against Osasuna last Sunday, Spain’s habitual top two were locked together at the top of standings on 19 points.

Both Real and Barca play important games over the weekend as they look to build momentum ahead of their El Clasico showdown on Oct. 16.

Real will make a 30 minute journey south of the Spanish capital to face Getafe on Saturday while Barcelona hosts a dangerous Celta Vigo side, who defeated Real Betis 1-0 last weekend.

After breezing past Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real side will be looking to bounce back from last week’s draw when they travel to Getafe, where they lost last season.

The Italian has been able to rely on in-form attacking duo Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema to produce the goods and will be looking forward to the probable return of Luka Modric, who has been nursing a hip injury suffered while on international duty with Croatia.

Real will face Shakhtar again next week in a match that could secure them early qualification to the round of 16 and a morale boost before El Clasico.

Things are looking more complicated in Europe for Barcelona. While on a six-game winning streak in La Liga with striker Robert Lewandowski on a roll, it has lost two consecutive Champions League games and will host Celta knowing that its faces a crucial encounter against Inter Milan three days later at Camp Nou.

A third loss in four games would leave the team in danger of being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage for the second consecutive season.

Coach Xavi Hernandez will again have a major selection headache with several key players nursing injuries.

Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Hector Bellerin are all doubtful and Barca have a big problem in defence with Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen all out injured.

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