Just four days after Real Madrid’s impressive demolition of Barcelona in the Nou Camp, in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, the two great rivals of Spanish football go at it again.
This will be the third time Real Madrid take on Barcelona this season and bar a possible meeting in the Champions League, will be the last El Clasico of the season.
Due to Real Madrid’s clash at Manchester United on Tuesday, Barcelona’s visit to the Bernabeu takes place at 15.00 GMT, Saturday, March 2, 2013.
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With a 16-point gap between Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga and the humongous Champions League second leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Jose Mourinho looks set to ring the changes.
The Special One will have to be careful though. Whilst eager to rest players and keep them fresh for Manchester, the Bernabeu will not countenance their side to lie down to Barcelona.
Angel Di Maria is suspended for this El Clasico and it would be no surprise if the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil are rested. Pepe, a substitute at the Nou Camp, could be in line for a start.
Barcelona meanwhile are in crisis. Comfortable defeats to AC Milan and Real Madrid means there are serous doubts whether Barcelona’s season is all but over, with just La Liga to show for their efforts.
The absence of Tito Vilanova and a dip in form from the likes of Lionel Messi and Xavi combined with concerns over fitness in February have left Barcelona looking a shadow of the side that had wowed the planet for so many years.
Assistant coach Jordi Roura is tipped to bring in Cristian Tello and David Villa to freshen things up. Xavi is out injured and Cesc Fabregas is tipped to make way. But surely Lionel Messi won’t have a quiet game again…
Real Madrid may be looking to take it easy but there is no such thing as a quiet El Clasico and what a difference it could make to Barcelona’s current mindset if they can win in the Bernabeu.