Everything you need to know about Los Blancos’ preparations for the Clasico clash at Camp Nou on Saturday
Real Madrid remain unbeaten this season. Zinedine Zidane’s side sit on top of La Liga and warmed up for the trip to Barcelona at the weekend with a 6-1 win at home to Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night.
Madrid lead Barca by six points in the Primera Division ahead of the Clasico at Camp Nou on Saturday and have not lost a game since their 2-0 defeat away to Wolfsburg in the Champions League last April.
That came just four days after their 2-1 win in the last Clasico and here, Goal takes a look at how they are shaping up for the next edition of the famous fixture…
Real Madrid will be without Gareth Bale after the Welsh winger picked up an ankle injury in the 2-1 win away to Sporting CP in the Champions League last week and underwent an operation in London on Tuesday.
Toni Kroos is still sidelined as well, while Fabio Coentrao also looks set to miss out and Danilo is doubtful for the Camp Nou clash.
Better news for Zidane saw Casemiro return from a long spell out as he featured as a starter in the 6-1 win over Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday and the Brazilian now looks set to play some part in the Clasico on Saturday.
While they have had their injury problems lately, Real Madrid have no players suspended for the Clasico clash at Camp Nou this weekend.
Captain Sergio Ramos, sent off in the last Clasico in April, was walking a suspension tightrope, though. The Spain defender is just one booking away from a ban, but came through unscathed in the 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon in La Liga last Saturday and should start in the Clasico.
With Gareth Bale out injured, Zinedine Zidane is likely to call upon Lucas Vazquez to fill in on the right of Real Madrid’s attack, with the winger likely to drop back into midfield in more of a 4-4-2 formation when Barcelona have the ball.
With Pepe having only recently returned from injury, Raphael Varane looks likely to get the nod at centre-back alongside captain Sergio Ramos, while Dani Carvajal will be preferred to Danilo (who is a doubt anyway) on the right side of defence.
In midfield, Casemiro is available again and made his return from injury in the 6-1 win over Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday night. However, following a long spell on the sidelines, the Brazilian looks set to start on the bench as Zidane seems likely to keep faith in Mateo Kovacic alongside Luka Modric and Isco, who was so impressive in the recent derby win at the Vicente Calderon.
Barcelona trail Real Madrid by six points after 13 rounds of La Liga and the Catalans have been inconsistent this season, drawing three of their six matches at Camp Nou so far in the Primera Division.
The last of those was a goalless game at home to Malaga and Luis Enrique’s side were also unable to win away at Real Sociedad in a 1-1 draw on Sunday. The Catalans then tied 1-1 in Alicante against Hercules in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday – albeit with their second string in that match.
The return of Andres Iniesta will represent a big boost for Barca, with the midfielder missing since he injured his knee away to Valencia in La Liga on October 22. However, form has not been good and Luis Enrique admitted after the game at Anoeta that his side will need to do much better against Real Madrid in the Clasico.
While Madrid will be top whatever happens on Saturday, Barcelona simply cannot afford to lose and fall nine points behind their fierce rivals – even at this early stage of La Liga.
Real Madrid have won five of their last nine games aganst Barça in all competitions (L4), including their last trip to Camp Nou (1-2).
Only Alfredo Di Stefano (18) has scored more goals for Real Madrid than Cristiano Ronaldo (16) in Clasicos in all competitions.
Karim Benzema has scored five goals in his last seven Liga Clasicos, but just one of them came at Camp Nou.
Real Madrid have picked up 11 red cards in their last 26 Clasicos, with four of them coming for Sergio Ramos (all competitions).
he Clasico kicks off at 16:15 CET at Camp Nou, which means television viewers in the UK will be unable to watch the fixture live due to FA rules which state that no games can be broadcast between 14:45 and 17:15.