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Preview: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – prediction, team news, lineups

The highly anticipated clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona, also known as El Clasico, will take place at the Bernabeu on Thursday evening for the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. The La Liga title race may have to take a backseat momentarily as the two fierce rivals battle it out for a spot in the final of the prestigious Spanish cup competition.

Real Madrid secured their place in the semi-finals after a convincing 3-1 win over their city rivals Atletico Madrid in the previous round. Meanwhile, Barcelona progressed with a narrow 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad.

Match preview

Real Madrid is looking to add another Copa del Rey trophy to their collection, as they have not won one since the 2013-14 season. The possibility of winning four trophies this season is still within reach for the team, making the trophy cabinet yearn for another addition.

In addition, the upcoming Madrid derby against Los Rojiblancos in La Liga may pose a challenge for Carlo Ancelotti’s squad. The breakout teenage star, Alvaro Rodriguez, has won the hearts of the Bernabeu faithful with his late equalizer in their last encounter, which ended in a 1-1 draw. This result leaves Los Blancos trailing Barcelona by seven points in the La Liga standings.

Barcelona’s recent unexpected loss to Almeria has provided a glimmer of hope for Real Madrid, who had their five-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday. Real Madrid is now looking forward to their first Copa del Rey semi-final since the 2018-19 campaign.

However, during that year’s semi-final with Barcelona, Real Madrid only managed a 1-1 draw in the first leg before being eliminated with a 3-0 loss at the Bernabeu. Unfortunately, Real Madrid is facing concerns with form and fitness, making the upcoming El Clasico matchup even more challenging for La Blaugrana.

This Thursday, football fans around the world will witness the 252nd edition of the legendary Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona. This much-anticipated match comes after Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final in January. However, it’s worth noting that Real Madrid had previously secured a 3-1 victory against their rivals at the Bernabeu in October.

Real Madrid Copa del Rey form:

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Real Madrid form (all competitions):

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Barcelona Copa del Rey form:

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Barcelona form (all competitions):

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Team News

Real Madrid

Real Madrid is facing some injury concerns ahead of their upcoming matches. Ferland Mendy sustained a thigh injury during their quarter-final win over Atletico in January and it’s yet to heal. Rodrygo and David Alaba also picked up injuries in their Champions League last-16 first leg win over Liverpool and have joined Mendy in the treatment room.

Rodrygo has recovered quickly and is back in training, which means he could make himself available for selection. However, Alaba is expected to miss out on the upcoming matches. On a positive note, Luka Modric will be able to play, despite serving a suspension during the Real Betis game.

Aurelien Tchouameni has recently recovered from flu, and his return to full fitness could provide a much-needed boost to the Blancos midfield. Tchouameni could potentially partner up with Modric, who was only a substitute during the Atletico game, and this combination could push Federico Valverde further forward, taking the place of Marco Asensio.

Barcelona

Barcelona have been dealt a severe blow with the untimely injury to striker Lewandowski. The Polish international sustained a hamstring injury during the team’s recent defeat to Almeria, and while the club has not given a specific timeframe for his return, it is certain that he will miss the upcoming game.

Unfortunately, Barcelona will also be without Ousmane Dembele and Pedri due to their own thigh injuries. However, there is some hope for the team, as Xavi is optimistic that Ansu Fati’s bruised knee will heal in time for the first leg.

With Lewandowski out, the 20-year-old Fati is one option to fill the void up front, but it is more likely that Ferran Torres will be given the nod as the team’s number nine. This will allow Raphinha to return to his preferred position out wide after suffering a bizarre injury – kicking a fridge in frustration after being substituted in a match against Manchester United.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:

Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr

Barcelona possible starting lineup:

Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Roberto; Raphinha, Torres, Gavi

Our Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona

 

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