Barcelona travels to Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Quarter Finals after a disappointing defeat against Almeria at Horse Power Stadium.
Both teams head into this crucial encounter, after a worrisome weekend in LaLiga. Barcelona lost 1-0 to Almeria while Real Madrid drew level against Atletico. Before reaching the Semi-Finals, Barcelona eliminated Real Sociedad 1-0, while Real Madrid won the Madrid derby 3-1 in the Quarter-Finals.
- Barcelona has won 16 of the last 37 Clasicos played at the Bernabeu, while the hosts have won only 14.
- In Copa del Rey history, there have been 35 clasicos. With 15 victories to Madrid’s 12, Barcelona has the upper hand.
- Barcelona have won only one of their last five Copa del Rey games against Madrid.
- Then again, who doesn’t?
- Barcelona averages 2.06 goals per game away from home, while Madrid averages 2.32 goals per game at home.
- There have been 15 Clasicos in the last six years, with both teams winning six each.
- The two clubs last met in the Copa del Rey in 2018/19 semi-finals. The first leg was a 1-1 tie, with Barcelona winning the second leg 3-0 at the Bernabeu.
- Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona will play his 46th game against Real Madrid, surpassing Messi and Ramos(45 each) as the player with the most El Clasico appearances.
Barcelona will once again be without the services of Pedri and Dembele. To make the matter worse, our star striker Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury, and Christensen’s presence is also in doubt.
Ansu Fati, who missed the match against Almeria on Sunday, has returned to the squad alongside Estanis Pedrila. Estanis is a 19-year-old left winger for Barcelona Athletic who has 5 goals in 11 games in Segunda B. He has only played 10 minutes for the first team so far, which was against Mallorca in 2021/22.
Madrid will be without Mendy and Alaba due to injuries. Apart from that, unlike Xavi, Ancelotti appears to be unworried.
With Christensen’s availability being doubtful, Xavi may opt to start Alonso alongside Kounde as center-backs with Ter Stegen occupying the net. Araujo will start on the right, as usual, with the intention of marking Vinicius, where Balde will continue on left.
It’s hard to think of Xavi trusting Torre to start in the vacant spot of Pedri in such a crucial fixture. So we can expect him to stick with Gavi, Busquets, and De Jong.
Barcelona’s attack is becoming increasingly limited with the growing injury list. As things stand, Ferran will start as CF, with Fati on LW and Raphinha on RW. Later in the second half, we can expect to be seeing glimpses of Alarcon and Estanis.
Barcelona’s forward depth will be put to the test tonight. Lewandowski, Pedri and Dembele are expected to return in the second leg. So it’ll be ideal if Barcelona can remain in control for at least a draw.
What are your predictions?