El Clasico Preview: Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Squad List, Predicted line-ups, and kick off time.

Barcelona will look to take a huge step towards extending the gap at the top of the La Liga this season with a win against arch-rivals Real Madrid at Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday.

The Blaugrana are currently nine points ahead of Real Madrid coming into this crunch contest, and a victory would go a huge way to securing their first league title since 2019.

They have had to watch Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid win the La Liga title in the last three season.

The Catalan club could have a 12-point lead over reigning champions by the end of proceedings on Sunday nights, with 12 games left to play this season. 

Despite being knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United in the playoff stage last month, Barcelona have already lifted the Spanish Super Cup this season and are chasing two more trophies, including the Copa del Rey, where Real Madrid are also standing in their way of success.

Barcelona have hardly missed a step in the league this season, winning 21 of their 25 matches, drawing twice and suffering two defeats, while they have only conceded eight La Liga goals all campaign.

They head to the game after defeating Athletic Club 1-0 in their last game in the La Liga.

Manager Xavi Hernandez certainly wants his first home Clásico to end with a memorable win, and has revealed the Barca's squad list that will be at his disposal to face Real Madrid, as announced in a post via Barcelona’s official website on Saturday.

And to no surprise, Barcelona are going to be without Pedri once again. The midfielder had suffered a setback in his own recovery, he suffered some discomfort in training on Friday and has been ruled out as a result. 

He could miss up to a month with another hamstring problem.

Along with Pedri, another key player in Ousmane Dembele remains unavailable for Barcelona as he is unlikely to make a return in time from injury. But Ronald Araujo is back in the squad after missing the last game against Athletic Club due to suspension.

Barça did win 1-0 without Dembélé and Pedri at the Santiago Bernabéu in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie, but they withstood a lot of punishment and could have easily conceded a goal or two on the night. 

They were very defensive and got lucky multiple times, and there’s very little guarantee luck will be on their side again if they choose to stay back and defend.

The second leg set to take place at Camp Nou at the start of April.

Xavi released a 22-man squad ready to tackle the visitors Los Blancos at Camp Nou which are;

Ter Stegen, Araujo, Sergio, Gavi, Lewandowski, Ansu Fati, Ferran, Iñaki Peña, Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba, Kessie, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Raphinha, Kounde, Eric, Balde, Pablo Torre, Arnau Tenas and Alarcón

Real Madrid on the other hand, knows that this is their last chance to deliver a direct blow to their rivals and make it a real title race. Even a draw in this encounter is not the worst result in the world for the visitors, but it’d certainly make their job more difficult. A Barça win essentially kills all hope for the title.

Los Blancos side head to the game after eliminating Liverpool from the Champions League in midweek.

The two last season's finalist, met again at the round-of-16 stage of the competition this season, and Real Madrid won 6-2 on aggregate, as they comfortably progress to the final eight, where they will meet more Premier League oppositions Chelsea, and if they win, they could face Man City in the semi-final.

Carlo Ancelotti's side last lost in the league against Mallorca at the start of February, while they drew with Atletico Madrid and Real Betis before recording a 3-1 victory over Espanyol at Bernabeu last weekend.

After having a few injury issues lately, manager Carlo Ancelotti is only going to be without David Alaba, who will not be making his comeback from injury, and the suspended Alvaro Rodriguez.

Karim Benzema has finally been able to make the squad after missing the last few training sessions with a knock he suffered against Liverpool in midweek.

Ferland Mendy should be expected to make his return to the starting lineup to provide a defensive boost, as Madrid don't have a lot of depth in that spot. The French defender missed more than a month with a serious muscle injury.

Ancelotti released a 23-man available squad to tackle Barcelona at Camp Nou in a post via the club’s official website on Saturday.

Courtois, Lunin, Luis López, Carvajal, E. Militão, Vallejo, Nacho, Odriozola, Lucas V., Rüdiger and F. Mendy, Kroos, Modrić, Camavinga, Valverde, Tchouameni and D. Ceballos, Hazard, Benzema, Asensio, Vini Jr., Rodrygo and Mariano.

Barcelona predicted XI (4-3-3): 

Ter Stegen; Araujo, Kounde, Christensen, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi.

Real Madrid predicted XI (4-3-3): 

Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Camavinga, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.

Real Madrid's away form this season has been strong, picking up 28 points from 13 matches, while they have dominated the recent league meetings between the two sides, winning five of their last six in Spain's top flight.

Barcelona have not actually beaten Real Madrid at Camp Nou in La Liga since October 2018, while Los Blancos were 3-1 winners in the reverse fixture at Bernabeu earlier this season.

The kick-off time for the huge game is 9pm on Sunday, March 19 (Nigerian time), and at 21:00 CET, which is the local time in Barcelona.

Referee for the match: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoechea

VAR: César Soto Grado

Who wins this? 🤔

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