The second Clasico of the campaign is looming upon us and even though there is a healthy gap between Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga, it’s still a highly anticipated fixture and its result could affect the trajectories of both sides’ seasons.
Barcelona and Real Madrid both go into this game in their season-best League form with the Catalans having won 12 of their last 13 matches, while Madrid have won four in a row with a 16-3 goal difference. Both are riding high on confidence at the moment and aren’t having problems scoring goals so the stage is set for a frenetic encounter at Camp Nou on Saturday evening.
Neither team will be at full strength with Jeremy Mathieu, Adriano Correia, and Sandro Ramirez out for Barca while Los Blancos are sweating on the fitness of Sergio Ramos, but he is expected to play. The attacking stars are all there though so we can expect an open game on a night where Barcelona and Netherlands legend Johan Cruyff will be honoured following his passing last week.
The difference between the clubs in the League is 10 points, but that doesn’t take away the glamour of this fixture and the importance of its outcome. A win for La Blaugrana and not only will the League title be all but sealed, their unbeaten streak will reach 40 games and they’ll be able to focus on the Cups in hopes of winning an historic double treble.
For Madrid, a win would extend their La Liga winning streak to five, their longest run of the campaign. That may not be enough to suggest that they could still end the year as champions, but the momentum they could get gain from a victory here could spur them on to capture La Undecima, the 11th European Cup.
With the Champions League being their only realistic chance of winning a trophy this term and the desire to avoid a second consecutive trophy-less season, a win here could give them all the confidence in the world to go on and conquer it.
The destiny of the title may not ride on this game nor change regardless of the result with Barca being heavy favourites to win it, but the outcome of it could affect both clubs in other competitions. The Champions League is the golden prize for these two illustrious giants and winning it requires peaking at the right time. Barca and Madrid will hope a win here could drive them on to do just that.