El Clasico Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

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  • Real Madrid have beat Barcelona 92 times in official matches, while Barca has tallied 89 wins (49 draws)
  • Lionel Messi has scored 21 goals in 29 Clasicos and is the highest scorer of active members in both squads
  • Both sides have played 229 Clasicos since the two met in the Spanish Cup in 1902 (The Independent)

Undoubtedly, El Clasico features two teams among the world’s best, and when they face each other in front of millions of supporters and television viewers, a huge spectacle arises.

Earlier in the season at the Bernabeu, Neymar opened the scoring in the 4th minute and stunned the Real faithful, who were given comfort after Cristiano Ronaldo equalized on a penalty kick ten minutes before the half. And from that point on, two unanswered goals from Pepe and Karim Benzema had Los Blancos walking away with a 3-1 victory.

Luis Suarez made his starting debut then and provided the assist for his side’s only score. Benzema’s spectacular performance was the obvious takeaway in this one.

Real and Barca meet tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET, switching home turf over to Camp Nou, and many believe this contest will tell a different tale, as Real have staggered lately to win only two of their past five matches.

[RELATED: Pique on Real’s struggles

A frustrated Ronaldo has watched his Ballon d’Or showings fall to the wayside in 2015, netting only seven goals and three assists since the year’s beginning. Benzema and Gareth Bale, the other men in Real’s attacking trio, have also wrestled with unfavorable form.

Meanwhile, Barca have won 18 matches and drawn two, and Lionel Messi has out dueled his rival in Madrid by brandishing magnificent play, burying 18 goals and adding 11 assists from the start of 2015.

Sitting atop La Liga, Barcelona’s confidence is high, and Real—only one point behind the Catalans—will fight hard to remain within striking distance of the title.

Get ready for quite the contest in northeastern Spain.

What they’re saying

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique on approach to match (FC Barcelona official website): “We’ll try to carry on doing what we have done up to now, which is create more chances than the opposition, control the pace of the game, have players in the right place at the right time, control our emotions and push each other in the right direction…We like to control the ball and, as much as possible, do so in the opposition’s half.”

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema on dealing with nerves (Yahoo! Sport): “We know that there’s a lot of pressure, but that’s normal because it’s a huge match. Every player who loves football wants to play in it. We’re going to prepare well for the match, all together, to go to Barcelona and win…We’re Real Madrid. To score again like I did in our first meeting of the season, I need a bit of luck and nothing else.”

Match injuries/absences

Dani Alves and Jordi Alba are both back from short suspensions for Barcelona. Sergio Busquets may be back as well after sitting out for three games due to an ankle injury sustained in Barca’s Copa del Rey match vs. Villarreal. Defender Thomas Vermaelen is still eyeing his return in April.

Meanwhile, for Real, it’s James Rodriquez that will not perform because of his broken foot, while Luka Modric could get the start, with Isco and Toni Kroos also all-clear for the match.

Prediction

It’s seems that based on present form, Barcelona is the favorite to win, but Real players know the odds are against them. Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid.