About a month and a half after Barcelona won the Spanish Super Cup at the expense of Real Madrid, and after two games between them this season that shared one victory for each side with the same result of 1:3, the two biggest teams in Spain meet at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight (Thursday, 22:00 on Sport1) for the third El Clasico of the season, this time as part of the semi-finals of the King's Cup.
The previous meeting between the Blaugrana and the Blancos in this exact situation, in 2019, ended in a crushing 1:4 for the Catalans in the summary of the two games.
In the absence of the injured David Alaba and Perlan Mendy, the main news in the Real Madrid lineup beyond Nacho's placement at left back, is that Eduardo Camabinga started in midfield alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
Rodrigo, who was included in the squad even though only last week it was reported that he would be absent for 10 days, waits on the bench and Federico Valverde will be deployed on the right wing, with Vinicius and Karim Benzema completing the offensive part.
It is worth mentioning that Carlo Ancelotti's team is coming after a 1:1 draw in the derby against Atlético Madrid last Saturday, which interrupted their streak of five victories in all competitions.
Barcelona, who have lost their last two games and not only ended the European season after being knocked out by Manchester United, but also suffered another slap in the form of a 1-0 loss to the minor Almeria in the league on Sunday, are missing three crucial players - Robert Lewandowski, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele, with Christian Eriksen remains on the bench due to ankle pain and will probably not participate.
The one who did return to the squad, and it is not clear whether he will play either, is Ansu Fati.
Eric Garcia is expected to start in the center of defense instead of the Dane, Sergi Roberto in midfield and the one who will probably man the central striker position tonight is Fran Torres, with Rafinha and Gabi next to him in the front line.
Expected to start in place of the sore Christensen.
Eric Garcia (Photo: GettyImages, PAU BARRENA/AFP)
Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, Eduardo Camabinga, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Federico Valverde, Vinicius, Karim Benzema.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jules Conde, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Alex Balde, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Frankie de Jong, Rafinha, Gabi, Fran Torres.
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