The La Liga championship race is briefly put on hold as Real Madrid and Barcelona clash in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final at the Bernabeu on Thursday evening.
Los Blancos advanced by defeating city rivals Atletico Madrid 3-1 in the last eight, while Xavi’s side needed only one goal to beat Real Sociedad.
The match is a part of the Copa Del Rey.
Kick Off Time, Location and Match Venue
NAME: Real Madrid vs Barcelona
DATE: 2 March 2023
TIME: 20:00 UTC
VENUE: Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid city, Spain
Real Madrid vs Barcelona Preview
With a stunning quadruple still a definite possibility going into the spring months, Real Madrid’s trophy cabinet is eager to welcome another Copa del Rey title, which Los Blancos have not won since the 2013-14 season.
Real Madrid defeated Cacereno and Villarreal before a stern test against Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals, where Alvaro Morata would return to haunt his former club, but Rodrygo forced extra time before Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior saved Los Blancos’ bacon.
Another Madrid derby in La Liga would not be easy for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, as Alvaro Rodriguez endeared himself to the Bernabeu fans with a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw.
Barcelona’s shock loss to Almeria leaves Real Madrid with a glimmer of hope after their five-game winning streak in all competitions came to an end on Saturday evening, and a first Copa del Rey semi-final since the 2018-19 season now awaits.
Real drew the first leg of their semi-final battle with Barcelona 1-1 before losing 3-0 at the Bernabeu that year, but with form and fitness worries working against them, the latest El Clasico couldn’t have come at a worse time for La Blaugrana.
With Manchester United closing down one route to success in the Europa League, Barcelona’s need for triumph in the Spanish top flight has become even more pressing, so it was no surprise to see Xavi overcome with rage following Sunday’s defeat to Almeria.
Real Madrid Team And Injury News
Real Madrid have lost Ferland Mendy to a thigh injury that has yet to heal, and he has been joined in the treatment room by Rodrygo and David Alaba, both of whom were injured in their Champions League last-16 first leg victory over Liverpool.
Rodrygo has returned to training quickly and could be available, but Alaba is almost certainly out, and Luka Modric will serve a ban against Real Betis this weekend but is fit to play here.
Aurelien Tchouameni, who has recovered from a bout of flu, could freshen up the Blancos middle alongside Modric, who was only a substitute against Atletico at the weekend, potentially pushing Federico Valverde further forward in place of Marco Asensio.
Barcelona Team And Injury News
Barcelona have been dealt an untimely setback with the injury to Lewandowski, who suffered a hamstring injury in the weekend’s defeat to Almeria. The Catalans haven’t given him a timetable for his return, but he’ll be watching this one from the stands.
Ousmane Dembele and Pedri are also out of contention due to thigh injuries, but Xavi is optimistic that Ansu Fati’s bruised knee will recover in time for the first leg.
The 20-year-old is one option to replace Lewandowski in the middle, but Ferran Torres should get the nod as the number nine, enabling Raphinha to return out wide after his strange post-Manchester United injury – damaging his foot by kicking a fridge in rage following his substitution.
Real Madrid Predicted XI:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Barcelona Predicted XI:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Roberto; Raphinha, Torres, Gavi
Watch it live on Sofascore.