The 245th competitive El Clasico clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid will take place tomorrow at the Camp Nou.
Both sides are currently tied on 96 victories apiece with 52 draws, and football fans across the globe will be tuning in to catch one of the most-watched games.
Madrid left Barcelona with a point when they came visiting last term before beating the Catalans 2-0 at home in March to fire their title charge.
Ronald Koeman’s side were handed a 1-0 loss at Getafe last weekend after starting the season with two wins and a draw, and they quickly bounced back with a 5-1 win over Hungarian minnows Ferencvaros in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.
Madrid are a wounded animal heading into Saturday’s clash after suffering consecutive defeats at the hands of Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, and Barca will have to be on top of their game to have a chance of winning.
The Cules will be without their fans and that will be taking away one of the advantages they have often enjoyed at their home ground over the years.
German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen remains sidelined due to a tendon injury he sustained last term, while Samuel Umtiti is a major injury doubt.
Jordi Alba is expected to be fit to start having returned from a hamstring injury, and he trained with others on Thursday.
Neto will continue in goal with Ter Stegen still unavailable, and the Brazilian will be keen to impress in his debut Clasico.
Alba could return to the lineup immediately as his experience will come handy despite Sergino Dest’s brilliance in his absence, and Sergi Roberto will be expected to start at right-back after being withdrawn midway through the Champions League clash as a precautionary measure after picking up a knock.
Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet will continue their centre-back partnership, with Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets expected to play in midfield.
Lionel Messi has played in a false nine role since the campaign started and will likely lead Barcelona’s attack against Madrid again.
Philippe Coutinho is expected to play right behind him, and Koeman could be keen to deploy the electric paces of Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati and use them on the wings.
Predicted Barcelona XI
Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba
Busquets, De Jong
Dembele, Coutinho, Ansu
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