Madrid are under the command of Carlo Ancelotti and sit third in La Liga, three points behind league leaders Real Sociedad and one behind second-placed Osasuna. They’re second in Champions League Group D, level on points with leaders Sheriff.
Ronald Koeman is in charge of Barcelona. They’re seventh in La Liga, two points off Sevilla and a Champions League place and five off La Real. In Europe, the Catalan club are third in Champions League Group E, six points off the pace-setters Bayern Munich and one behind second-placed Benfica.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 24, 2021
El Clasico has undoubtedly lost some of its sheen following the departure from La Liga of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos, two iconic personalities of Spanish football. But there’s still plenty on the line and an intriguing contest awaits.
Koeman is expected to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal behind a back four of Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia and Alejandro Balde.
Sergio Busquets is expected to sit and anchor the midfield, with Gavi and Frenkie de Jong either side of him. Memphis Depay will lead the line, flanked by Ansu Fati and Sergino Dest.
Barcelona are missing Martin Braithwaite, Ronald Araujo and Pedri through injury, while Ousmane Dembele and Jordi Alba are both doubts. Alba has made the squad, however, and so could start.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) October 24, 2021
“Good possession, looking for depth,” Koeman said when asked what he was looking for in his pre-match press conference according to Marca. “I don’t think many opportunities will be created. It will be a matter of being effective. Each player has to get the best out of themselves for a game like tomorrow.
“To know [El Clasico], you have to play it, We have enough who have already experienced these games to help [the debutants]. It’s to enjoy a pleasant environment. Play with personality and do your job. [The game] is important, especially for ourselves. It gives us confidence. The players work hard every day to win games and improve things. It’s an important game that we want to win. That has to be shown [on the pitch].
“We’ve won two games [this week]. It’s a good feeling, and it’s a great game that we have ahead of us. We’re very excited to play. Hopefully we will have a full stadium, or almost a full stadium, with a great atmosphere.”