2023’s third iteration of El Clasico takes place on Wednesday night as Barcelona host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie.
The Catalans take a slender 1-0 aggregaate advantage into the fixture thanks to Eder Militao’s own goal in the first leg at the start of March.
Spain’s two behemoths have met since, with Barça claiming a dramatic 2-1 triumph on home soil to all but put an end to the La Liga title race thanks to Franck Kessie’s late winner. Xavi’s side are currently 12 points clear at the summit, and both sides head into Wednesday’s second leg off the back of emphatic league victories. Barça also won the Supercopa de Espana final in January.
Barcelona team news
The hosts are likely to be without both Pedri and Frenkie de Jong in midfield, with Franck Kessie or Sergi Roberto poised to join Sergio Busquets and Gavi in the middle of the park.
Ansu Fati could retain his place down the left after a positive performance against Elche, while Xavi will welcome Raphinha back to the fold after he was suspended for the weekend’s win.
Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen remain out.
Barcelona predicted lineup (4-3-3):
Ter Stegen; Araujo, Kounde, Alonso, Balde; Busquets, Gavi, Roberto; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati.
Real Madrid team news
Carlo Ancelotti has a couple of injury concerns in defence. After just returning from a hamstring injury, Ferland Mendy has picked up another setback and is poised to miss out with a calf issue.
Antonio Rudiger wasn’t in the squad for the thumping of Real Valladolid, but his manager doesn’t believe the German international’s knee injury isn’t anything serious and he should be fit to start on Wednesday.
After Real were dominated for a large portion of the recent Clasico, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ancelotti change tack and potentially deploy a 4-4-2 as opposed to his usual 4-3-3.
Real Madrid predicted lineup (4-4-2):
Courtois; Carvajal, Militão, Rudiger, Alaba; Valverde, Modric, Camavinga, Vinicius; Benzema, Rodrygo.
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