Clásico Preview: Barca-Madrid

Barcelona may have wrapped up the title, but that doesn’t mean Sunday’s Clasico with Real Madrid will be any less of a fiery showdown.

This will be the fifth meeting between the two sides in 2017-18, the pair having locked horns in the International Champions Cup and Supercopa during preseason, with Barca winning the former and Madrid going on to thrash their arch-rivals 5-1 over two legs.

However, the last Clasico in La Liga saw the Catalans come out on top, thrashing their arch-rivals 3-0 in December.

The Blaugrana have since gone on to race towards a seventh League crown in 10 years and have an unbeaten campaign to preserve, but build-up to the clash has been overshadowed by Los Blancos’ insistence that they will not perform a guard of honour for their opponents.

Nonetheless, a huge display of choreography is expected at Camp Nou to honour Barca’s domestic double, although Aleix Vidal, Andre Gomes, Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina will only be able to enjoy it from the stands.

Madrid, on the other hand, are without Dani Carvajal and Isco due to injuries, while Raphael Varane is unlikely to be risked from the outset, so youngster Jesus Vallejo looks set to partner Sergio Raamos in central defence.

Zinedine Zidane’s side also need the three points to close the gap on second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez is no stranger to Clasicos, having overseen Madrid’s 2-1 at Camp Nou in April 2016.

On that occasion, however, he came under fire for not sending Sergio Ramos off sooner, which involved not penalising the defender for a foul on Lionel Messi in the box, and disallowing a seemingly-legitimate Gareth Bale goal.

Barcelona (probable): Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Suarez, Messi, Coutinho

Injuries/suspensions: None

Real Madrid (probable): Keylor; Nacho, Vallejo, Ramos, Marcelo; Vazquez, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio; Benzema, Ronaldo

Injuries/suspensions: Carvajal, Isco (I)

Referee: Hernandez Hernandez

Form guide: Barca – 1st (W D W W D) Madrid – 3rd (W D W D W)

Previous meeting: Madrid 0-3 Barca

Venue: Camp Nou

Kick-off time: 19:45 BST/20:45 local time (LIVE on Football Espana)

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