This Saturday, 2nd of April 2016, league leaders FC Barcelona will measure forces with their eternal rivals, Real Madrid CF, at the emblematic Camp Nou for Round 31 of Liga BBVA, on a match that will also serve to pay tribute to the legendary Johan Cruyff, who passed away last week.
We are currently in the final countdown for the greatest Spanish derby, between two of the most important powerhouses of European and World football. This term’s El Clasico, however, does not have the importance that it had in previous seasons, given the difference in points between both sides at La Liga’s table.
FC Barcelona’s maestro, Andrés Iniesta, did, nevertheless, diminish the importance of such fact by claiming that both sides know each other very well and that he only hopes that the fans will be able to enjoy the match.
FC Barcelona are certainly hoping to return to winning ways after being somewhat caught by surprise during their visit to El Madrigal last time out. The Catalan side went to break winning 2-0 thanks to a goal by Ivan Rakitic and another one by Neymar from the penalty spot.
Everything was apparently under control, but in the second-half, the course of the match changed drastically with Villarreal CF, netting two goals in just six minutes’ time and pushing Barça against the ropes on several occasions.
It wasn’t an easy match for Luis Enrique’s men, who had a fantastic winning streak that lasted more than a month. For the upcoming derby against Real Madrid CF, the Asturian manager is already aware that he will not be able to rely on the services of the versatile French defender Jeremy Mathieu, who suffered a meniscus injury playing for his National Team early this week.
Sandro and Adriano will also miss out there after having failed to recover from their respective injuries. Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba, all suffering from minor injuries, are in doubt for the match.
Their rivals, Real Madrid, are extremely motivated ahead of the match and Brazilian right back Danilo, who joined the team last summer from FC Porto, recently claimed that the team is fully focused on clawing the three points at Camp Nou next Saturday.
Los Blancos’ head coach, Zinedine Zidane is still unsure if he will be able to rely on the contribution of Sergio Ramos, who is still recovering from an injury on his back.
Last term, FC Barcelona clawed a narrow 2-1 win over Real Madrid CF, when the capital city team visited Camp Nou and they remain as slight favourites for next weekend’s match once again. That being said, this might probably be Barça’s strongest line-up for upcoming fixture against Real Madrid CF.
Despite Marc-André ter Stegen’s dissatisfaction towards his current situation at FC Barcelona, Luis Enrique will surely field Claudio Bravo on next weekend Clasico.
The possible injury from Jordi Alba might force Luis Enrique to change some players in the defensive quartet and probably adapt Aleix Vidal to left side of the defence line. Dani Alves will probably return to the right back position, while Piqué and Mascherano will occupy the centre of defence.
With the usual midfield trio in doubt for El Clasico, Luis Enrique will probably need to produce some changes in the centre of the field as well. Busquets and Iniesta will probably recover in time for the match and might have the company of Sergi Roberto or Arda Turan in case Ivan Rakitic fails to recover from his calf injury.
Up front, there is no need to produce any major changes and Luis Enrique will surely field the usual dynamic trio, Messi, Suárez and Neymar, to cause mayhem on Real Madrid’s defence line.