Team News: Injuries, suspensions between Barcelona vs Real Madrid.
The time has almost arrived. With their Copa del Rey clash away to Hercules out of the way, Barcelona will now focus their energies exclusively on the visit of Real Madrid in La Liga this weekend. Barca trail Madrid by six points in the Primera Division after 13 rounds of matches and Saturday’s meeting at Camp Nou is therefore a key fixture for Luis Enrique’s side, who have drawn their last two league matches (against Malaga at home and Real Sociedad away) and also tied 1-1 at Hercules with a weakened side in the Copa on Wednesday.
However, form often means little in a Clasico and here take a look at how the Catalans are shaping up for the famous fixture…
Barcelona have a few injuries at the moment, but only Jeremy Mathieu is definitely sidelined for the Clasico clash, with Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta and Samuel Umtiti all expected to be available for selection for the game against Real Madrid. Umtiti returned in the Copa del Rey clash against Hercules on Wednesday night, while Iniesta has been back in training for a while following the knee injury he suffered in late October and should be involved in some capacity on Saturday. And Alba, who was injured in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, is doubtful with ankle and knee problems. However, Barca are optimistic he will be ready for the Clasico. Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are both back and featured against Hercules in Alicante.
Zidane will be without the injured Gareth Bale on Saturday, while Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata are also out and both Fabio Coentrao and Danilo are doubts. However, Casemiro is available again after making his long-awaited comeback from an ankle problem on Wednesday.
Luis Suarez sat out the goalless game against Malaga the weekend before last due to suspension, but the Uruguayan striker was back for the trip to Real Sociedad last Sunday and will feature against Real Madrid on Saturday. Neymar, meanwhile, is one booking away from a one-match ban, but avoided a yellow card on Sunday that would have seen him miss the Clasico and will start alongside Suarez and Lionel Messi this weekend. Barca have no players suspended for the Clasico clash.
REAL MADRID DOSSIER
Real Madrid come into the Clasico clash on good form. Zinedine Zidane’s side lead La Liga by six points from Barcelona and are unbeaten in all competitions in 2016-17. Madrid thrashed Segunda B side Cultural Leonesa 6-1 in the Copa del Rey at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night with their second string and are currently on a run of 32 games without defeat, having not lost since the 2-0 defeat away to Wolfsburg in the Champions League quarter-finals last April.
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