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Barcelona vs Real Madrid (1st Leg): Team News, El Clasico Match Preview

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The biggest game in sports decides who goes to the Spanish Cup Final, with Barça hoping to use their home to get a big first leg advantage

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FC Barcelona v Sevilla - Copa del Rey Quarter Final Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid


Competition/Round: 2018-19 Copa del Rey, Semi Final 1st Leg

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ousmane Dembélé, Jasper Cillessen, Samuel Umtiti, Rafinha, Jean-Clair Todibo, Sergi Samper (out)

Real Madrid Outs & Doubts: Jesús Vallejo (out)

Date/Time: Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), TV3, GOL, TVE La 1 (Spain), others

How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), TV3 (Spain), fuboTV (watch for free), others


Welcome to El Clásico! The Copa del Rey wasn’t supposed to mean much in a season where Barcelona is trying to win the Champions League, but facing their biggest rivals for a place in the Final changes everything: Barça will face Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Wednesday night in the first leg, which is a key, key game for the Blaugrana.

Because February is a ridiculously tough month for Barça, you want to have the chance to rest at least one or two key players (Messi, also maybe Messi) in the second leg at Santiago Bernabéu. Of course you don’t want to do that if you lose big in the first leg, so the goal is to get a really strong result at home, and the dream is like a 5-1 win like the one we had in La Liga earlier this season.

Madrid are just much better than they were in that game, though, and Brazilian prospect Vinicius Junior is on fire right now. They’re also healthy, and they’re certainly looking to avenge that horrible loss, so expect a really tough 90 minutes for Barça. The fans will be up for it, the players will be up for it, so let’s just hope for a great night of football in the Greatest Stadium on Earth. And a big win.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suárez, Coutinho

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Reguilón; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius


PREDICTION

I expect to see a lot of goals and a lot of Messi in this game: 4-2 Barça.