It is one of the must-see matches of the European season for millions of fans around the world: Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid face off for the first Clásico of the season, and although the staff will be different, the rivalry is as intense as ever .
For the first time in 16 years there will be no Lionel Messi involved, but both teams have new young stars like Ansu Fati (Barcelona) and Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid), whose careers will be marked by hand-to-hand battle. who regularly decides the Spanish La Liga title. These two teams have combined to win 60 of the 90 La Liga championships and 15 of the last 17.
While Real Madrid (second, 17 points) are expected to compete for the title once again after finishing second last season, there are many more questions surrounding cash-strapped Barcelona (fifth, 15 points) in the era. after Messi. This year he leans on his academy “La Masia”, which has produced several headlines, but the stakes are high on the shoulders of Fati, 18, and 17-year-old midfielder Gavi.
MORE: How Real Madrid and Barcelona are doing in the Champions League
El Clásico could help change the narrative around the storied club and its beleaguered Dutch coach, Ronald Koeman, whose dismissal many consider inevitable. But a victory at home against a packed Camp Nou would not only place Barcelona (15 points) above Real Madrid (17 points) in the standings, but would also serve to reconnect the fans with a club that has been through at times. difficult. between Messi’s departure, the budget challenges of years of financial mismanagement and a disappointing player acquisition campaign over the summer.
How to watch Barcelona against Real Madrid
- Date: Sunday October 24
- Weather: 10 am ET
- TV channels: None
- Transmission: ESPN +
The game will only be available in the US through the ESPN + streaming service, which has the exclusive rights to La Liga. There will be a broadcast in Spanish and English as with all La Liga matches on the platform. There will be a pregame show for El Clásico on ESPN2 and ESPN + one hour before kickoff at 9 am ET.
The match will be played at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, which was approved by local authorities to be open to fans at full capacity. It is the first time that a crowd will be at the Camp Nou to witness a Clásico since December 2019.
MORE: Who are the FIFA Ballon d’Or finalists?
Real Madrid have three more victories in the historic series against Barcelona (98-95), and 52 of the 245 clashes ended in a draw.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: alignments
Ronald Koeman will be missing two starters in central defender Ronald Araujo (hamstring) and central midfielder Pedri (quad), while forward Martin Braithwaite (left knee) is out with a long-lasting injury. In addition, the availability of two more players is not expected: Jordi Alaba (foot sprain) remains in doubt, while the midweek match against Rayo Vallecano is the objective of the expected return of Ousmane Dembélé.
Initial XI projected by FC Barcelona (4-3-3, from right to left): 1-Marc Andre ter Stegen-GK – 22-Oscar Mingueza, 3-Gerard Piqué, 15-Clement Lenglet, 2-Sergino Dest – 21-Frenkie de Jong, 5-Sergio Busquets, 30-Gavi – 9-Memphis Depay, 17 -Luuk de Jong, 10-Ansu Fati
Projected replacements of FC Barcelona: 26-Iñaki Pena-GK, 13-Neto-GK, 20-Sergi Roberto, 31-Alejandro Balde, 24-Eric García, 23-Samuel Umtiti, 6-Riqui Puig, 14-Philippe Coutinho, 28-Nico González, 11- Yusuf Demir, 19-Sergio Agüero
Real Madrid is also missing a couple of players: Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos are the casualties due to long-term injury, while Luka Jovic and Isco have been training on the side. If starting right-back Dani Carvajal is deemed fit to start, he could regain his place over Lucas Vásquez. It is also possible that Federico Valverde will let Luka Modric rest, although the Croatian veteran will not like to be left out of a Classic. Eden Hazard has returned to training normally and could be part of the squad for the day.
Projected starting formation of Real Madrid (4-3-3, from right to left): 1-Thibaut Courtois-GK – 17-Lucas Vazquez, 3-Eder Militao, 4-David Alaba, 23-Ferland Mendy – 10-Luka Modric, 14-Casemiro, 8-Toni Kroos – 21-Rodrygo, 9-Karim Benzema, 20-Vinicius Junior
Projected replacements for Real Madrid: 26-Luis Lopez-GK, 13-Andriy Lunin-GK, 6-Nacho Fernandez, 2-Dani Carvajal, 5-Jesus Vallejo, 12-Marcelo, 15-Federico Valverde, 25-Eduardo Camavinga, 7-Eden Hazard, 24- Mariano Diaz, 11-Marco Asensio
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: betting odds and prediction
Fees courtesy of DraftKings
Choose: Karim Benzema scorer of any time (+115)
With emotions at stake in this game and both bottom lines experiencing their fair share of defensive nightmares this season, it is unknown which way this game could go. Barcelona is missing their best defense in Ronaldo Araujo and the left-back position is up in the air with Jordi Alba in doubt. Meanwhile, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has made defense a key point of emphasis for his club to enter the game.
MORE: Who is Barcelona’s new teenage star, Gavi?
Barcelona will be under pressure from their home crowd to attack and chase victory, which could open up spaces for the forwards in the form of Real Madrid. Karim Benzema will be in the best position to take advantage of, and he is also Madrid’s designated penalty taker. Achieving it at +115 to score in what should be an open game is hard to pass up, especially in the way he has shown (goals in five of the last eight Real Madrid games) while building a case for FIFA Ballon d ‘ Or prize.
Prediction: Barcelona 0, Real Madrid 2
- Money line: Barcelona +175 / Draw +260 / Real Madrid +150
- Spread: Barcelona +0.5 (-170) / Real Madrid -0.5 (+150)
- O / U 2.5 total goals: Over -160 / Under +130
- Both teams will score: Yes -205 / No +155
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.