Sunday, May 6 – 8:45p.m Local time – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
There will be an indelicate culmination of blood, sweat and unadulterated abhorrence when Barcelona faces Real Madrid for the second el clasico of the 2017/18 La Liga campaign.
Real’s trip to the Camp Nou comes in the wake of their progression into yet another UEFA Champions League final, following the 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
The current holders showed expedient recovery skills through a Karim Benzema header in the eleventh minute after Joshua Kimmich took center stage for Bayern with a daunting opener with just three minutes after kick off.
Benzema, whose future at the club remains perilous following his oddly unquantifiable progress this season, rose to the occasion as he put his side in pole position to advance into the final with his second goal of the night, in the first minute of the second half.
The game had all the ingredients resembling a cup final, as the visitors launched a comeback though a James Rodriguez equalizer in the 63rd minute, but Real Madrid survived a late onslaught by the Germans to fall over the line at the final whistle; booking their ticket to the final in Kiev despite drawing 2-2 on the night.
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When it comes to the Champions League, Real Madrid have it down to an art, as they- on top of tasting European success in three of the last four seasons- hold the record for the most European titles, with 12 triumphs.
Although Madrid have done it by the book on the Europe front, exhibiting supreme calmness against top drawer opposition, the Los Blancos have been at their most calamitous domestically.
An early exit in the Copa del Rey coupled with a poor run during the first half of the season allowed Barcelona to be the runaway leaders in the Spanish top flight; one that as consequence saw Ernesto Valverde’s side clinch the domestic double of the La Liga and the Spanish Cup.
Zinedine Zidane has, by and large, alluded to losing the two domestic trophies to their sworn nemesis, even further suggesting that his side won’t accord Barcelona a guard of honor after the Blaugrana clinched the La Liga title during their 4-2 win away to Deportivo last weekend.
This possibly comes as a ripple effect of Barcelona refusal to give Real Madrid a ‘pasillo’, after Zinedine Zidane’s side successfully defended their FIFA Club World Cup crown last December.
Real have already drawn first blood with the announcement, which unequivocally sets precedent for a grudge match, most especially because Barca have dethroned Madrid of the La Liga crown, whereas Madrid are on the verge of winning the one trophy that has eluded the their arch rivals; the Champions League.
Valverde has a clean bill of health and will certainly field his strongest eleven, while Zinedine could be without Isco and Dani Carvajal after the duo missed out the midweek European encounter due to injury.
Messi goal-scoring odds
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Messi to score anytime||$1.50 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Messi to score anytime/Barcelona to win||$2.10 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
Lionel Messi currently has a cumulative total of 38 goals in all competitions this season, three fewer goals than Cristiano Ronaldo and five behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah who has taken Europe by storm this campaign.
However, Messi is the all-time leading goal scorer in the el clasico with 25 goals, and his hat-trick against Deportivo that propelled Barcelona to their 25th League title will have him fired up ahead of hosting Real Madrid.
El Clasico match predictions
Barcelona have been compelling to watch over the course of the campaign and it comes as no surprise that they are on the verge of going the entire season undefeated.
Although Real Madrid trails the La Liga champions with a ludicrous 15 points, the Los Blancos are an alluringly sonorous side that will not be fazed by the highly unwelcoming Camp Nou crowd.
Real are the only team that can stop Barca in their tracks, but the midweek high voltage encounter suggests they won’t be at optimum level.
El Clasico betting prediction:
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid recent results
Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona (December 23, 2017)
Luis Suarez 54′
Lionel Messi 64′ (P)
Aleix Vidal 90’+3
Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (August 13, 2017)
Lionel Messi 77′ (P)
Gerard Pique 50′ (OG)
Cristiano Ronaldo 80′
Marco Asensio 90′
Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (August 17, 2017)
Marco Asensio 4′
Karim Benzema 39′
Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona (August 17, 2017)
James Rodriguez 85′
Lionel Messi 33′, 90’+2
Ivan Rakitic 73′