Barcelona come into El Clasico looking to stay at the top of the La Liga table. Avoiding defeat would greatly ease the pressure on manager Xavi Hernandez, after taking the Blaugrana to the brink of elimination in the Champions League group stages for the second consecutive season.
It would also be a fine way to mark a milestone. As per Mundo Deportivo, it will be Xavi’s 50th game in charge of Barcelona since joining last November.
His record across the 49 previous games stands at 28 wins, 11 draws and 10 defeats, across which the Azulgrana have scored 93 goals and conceded 49 – one a game.
Those 50 matches also include an 18-game unbeaten stretch away from home, which will no doubt come under threat at the Santiago Bernabeu. It is the longest unbeaten run away from home in La Liga history.
Until Wednesday, when Barcelona effectively sealed their Champions League fate with a 3-3 draw against Inter, Xavi’s impact had been mostly positive at Barcelona. Defeat at the Bernabeu combined with that draw will likely see Xavi come under sharper scrutiny than he has faced until this point.