The great football classic Spanish will leave on Saturday night a new leader in the classification from The league Santander and a good dose of pressure for the Atlético de Madrid, after the appointment between a Real Madrid grown by the image offered against Liverpool and a Barcelona With the physical factor on his side, he flies in the domestic tournament.
At the end of the first lap it was difficult to explain that a new leader would emerge from the April classic. Nobody at Real Madrid and Barcelona could imagine it because of the distance of a grown Atlético de Madrid. The collapse of Diego Simeone’s team and the return to regularity of two greats who always return, present a match with all the incentives in a new setting.
The Atlético will have to respond on Sunday at the home of Betis and with losses of key players, such as the Uruguayan Luis Suarez and Marcos Llorente, after seeing which of his rivals is better positioned for the final battle for the title. Two competing streaks. Twelve games without losing the team of Zinedine Zidane, recovering hit with 30 goals in favor and security with only seven against. A spectacular comeback from those of Ronald Koeman, with thirteen victories in the last fourteen days. Nine consecutive wins away from the Camp Nou.
To the duel that always marks the winner and the loser, even more so at a key moment of the season, Real Madrid arrives thrown in the mood after the image shown in a Champions League in which it is the only representative of Spanish football. The 3-1 to Liverpool, the union to overcome the defensive casualties of Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane, the dream match of the Brazilian Vinicius, the goals of Marco Asensio in his last four games. These are reasons that launch optimism before a classic in which the main concern is the difference in physical wear against an opponent who did not have a game during the week.
It is a factor that causes Zidane meditates introducing new features or keeping what worked so well on ‘Champions‘. The imposing image of Militao, the power of the midfield with three untouchable pillars, the scoring line of Benzema with goals in the last six league games and the challenge of scoring again in a classic almost four years later. The changes would go through the return to a system with three plants. It would cause the passage of Mendy to the center of the rear and the entry of Marcelo in the left lane.
For this, Vinicius would have to leave the eleven, unlikely after the leadership shown against Liverpool and the step forward in the definition with his double, or Marco Asensio on a scoring streak. Eden Hazard continues to improve his physique and Uruguayan Fede Valverde, key in the Camp Nou triumph in the first round (1-3), also has options if Zidane decides to put muscle and renew energy in the spinal cord.
Barcelona lands in Madrid with the firm objective of making the leap to the leadership. And that not so long ago was a team adrift. The institutional situation, without a president since October and with a galloping economic crisis, was reflected in the situation of the team, which has not just taken off. In fact, they were twelve points behind Atlético de Madrid (26-14) in early December after their defeat in Cádiz.
But little by little, Koeman hit the button. With three centrals and two lanes, his team grew. Dembélé appeared, Messi He followed his own, Frenkie de Jong was a differential player and even Sergio Busquets was another. Since that game in Cádiz, Barça has not lost again and in the last nineteen, it has achieved 51 points out of 57 possible; Atlético, 40.
That is why the game against Real Madrid is decisive. If Koeman’s men are not defeated by Valdevebas, Barcelona will have taken a giant step when there are nine games left for the end of LaLiga.
The Dutch coach is pending the recovery of Gerard Piqué or if he decides to line up the Uruguayan Ronald Araujo, two players who would force him to turn the eleven, since if either of them plays; Frenkie de Jong would go on to act in the core. And as a result of that change of chips, who could be left out of the eleven is the French Antoine Griezmann.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Lucas Vázquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Marco Asensio, Vinicius, Benzema.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo or Piqué, Lenglet; Dest, Busquets, Pedri, De Jong, Alba; Messi, Dembélé.
Referee: Gil Manzano (Extremadura Committee).
Stadium: Alfredo Di Stéfano.
Hour: 21.00 CET (19.00 GMT)