Real Madrid CF (3rd, 48pts) vs FC Barcelona (1st, 57pts)
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 26
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Rafinha, Thomas Vermaelen, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jean-Clair Todibo, Sergi Samper (out)
Real Madrid Outs & Doubts: Nacho, Marcos Llorente (out)
Date/Time: Saturday, March 2, 2019, 8.45pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7.45pm GMT (UK), 2.45pm ET, 11.45am PT (USA), 1.15am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: Santiago Bernbaéu, Madrid, Spain
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Premier Sports 1, Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Movistar Partidazo (Spain), others
Following a crazy El Clásico that sent Barça to their sixth consecutive Copa del Rey Final, the two biggest teams in Spain meet again at the Santiago Bernabéu. Barcelona and Real Madrid now clash in a giant La Liga match, and this could be the end of Madrid’s chances of a Spanish title.
If Barça win, which they have done four times in a row at the Bernabéu in all competitions, there will be a 12-point gap between the leaders and the Blancos with only 12 games left, which basically means Madrid will fight for second place. A Barça victory also mean they’ll be 10 points ahead of Atlético Madrid before the Colchoneros face Real Sociedad at Anoeta, which is obviously not an easy game.
It’s clear that Wednesday’s loss hurts badly and Madrid will do everything they possibly can to stop Barça from walking away with the league this weekend. The way they played in the first Clásico would be good enough to win in any other night, but they just could not finish their chances and saw Barça at their most brutally efficient selves. If Saturday’s game follows the exact same script in terms of Madrid’s dominance, they’ll probably win it.
The thing about El Clásico, however, is that the same script doesn’t exist. And that’s why this is the greatest game in sports.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Reguilón; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vázquez, Benzema, Vinicius
Anyone thinking Madrid will dominate us like they did on Wednesday is thinking every Clásico is exactly the same every time, which means you’ve only watched one Clásico in your life. Barça will play better in this one, but I don’t think this leads to a victory: 2-2 draw, which isn’t bad news if Atlético don’t win at Anoeta.