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Barcelona will take on arch rivals Real Madrid in the El Clasico this Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu, in what could prove to be a game-changer in the La Liga title race.
The Catalans will come into the game after having been dumped out of the UEFA Champions League by Italian side Juventus and will be hoping to bounce back with a win over Zinedine Zidane’s side. Barcelona sit 2nd in the La Liga table, 3 points off leaders Madrid, having played a game more and they will see this game as the perfect opportunity to put pressure on their bitter rivals.
The biggest blow for Barcelona will be the unavailability of star attacker Neymar. They failed with an appeal to have his three-match suspension rescinded. Arda Turan has returned to training, but Sunday could come too soon for him to be match-ready. Rafinha and Aleix Vidal are the only long-term absentees.
Here is how Barcelona could line-up against Madrid:
The 24-year old German has established himself as the No.1 this season ahead of Jasper Cillessen. He will start between the sticks at the Bernabeu.
The only option for Enrique to field at the right-back position, Roberto hasn’t been all bad in recent weeks. His forward forays will be key on Sunday.
Has spoken a lot about Madrid in recent weeks, sparking controversies left and right. He will look to translate all that bitterness into a solid performance.
Has been Barcelona’s best defender in recent months and is improving with every passing game. He will start alongside Pique, ahead of Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano.
The Spaniard is seeing some game time again, after having sitting out for an elongated period in recent weeks. His pace on the overlap could prove to be a valuable asset.
The anchorman of the Barcelona midfield, Busquets will be key in keeping the Madrid midfielders quiet at the Bernabeu.
The Croatian has struggled badly in recent weeks. Nothing seems to be going his way. However, his quality remains undoubted. He should hold on to his place in the XI.
The midfield maestro still remains Enrique’s best bet in the centre of the park ahead of the likes of Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes. Another start for the 32-year old.
Had a rare bad night against Juventus in midweek. He will be hoping to bounce back strongly and there is no better opponent than Real Madrid to do it against.
Was largely subdued on Wednesday night. Barcelona will need him firing on all cylinders if they are to come back with a positive result at the Bernabeu.
The former Valencia man scored in his previous start against Real Sociedad last weekend. He will want to add more to his tally and finish the season in a strong manner.