A Classic with more than half the League at stake
He barca and the real Madrid are measured tonight (9:00 p.m. / Movistar LaLiga) in a Classic in which the Catalans can sentence the League. A victory for Barça would widen the distance between the two teams to 12 points, with twelve games to go, so the championship would practically be judged. A white victory would reduce the difference to six points, so Ancelotti’s men would maintain their chances of being champions. Xavi is finally left without being able to count on Pedro and the Italian does recover Benzema.
Barça held the last training session yesterday, without the canary and without Dembele. The absence of Pedro should not alter Xavi’s plan in principle, which again involves adding a fourth midfielder to the eleven – he will have to choose between kessie and Sergi Roberto– and by align to Araujo on the right as an antidote to Vinicius. The blaugrana expect the match to be more similar to that of the Super Cup than that of the Copa del Rey, both of which ended with a victory for Barça, but achieved in a different way. Recovering the ball and control of the game, pressing up and being effective in front of goal are the three keys for Barça to be recognizable and to be able to dominate the game.
Ancelotti, for his part, will bet again on the trio camavinga–Kroos–Modric in the center of the field and in theory will add to valverdealthough yesterday he warned that it will be more offensive because he knows that only winning is worth it.
Oblivious to the media noise of the ‘case negreira‘, which will affect the atmosphere, the players of both teams are aware that tonight at the Camp Nou they can ‘finish’ the League. The Catalans reiterate that as long as he is not a mathematician, they will not see champions, but in private they admit that a victory today is a final sentence. And the white they cling to today’s game as the last hope to have options in the League or else they will focus almost exclusively on the Champions League, a title that only five games separate them.
Tonight’s will be the first Clásico of Xavi as a coach at the Camp Nou. He has had six since he took office, but all away from home: three in Madridtwo in arabian and a friendly one in Miami. The balance, friendly included, is four wins and two losses. The coach hopes to break Barça’s losing streak in the Clásicos at home, since they have not won since the 18-19 season, the game that cost Barça his job Lopetegui. Since then, Madrid’s visits have resulted in two white victories and a draw.
The referee of the match will be the Basque Burgos Bengoetxea, who will direct his third Clásico and who already whistled on January in the Super Cup. He will be assisted in the VAR by soto degree