Five talking points ahead of this week’s second El Clasico clash

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final: Second Leg

La Liga leaders Barcelona have a nine-point lead over Real Madrid heading into Saturday’s El Clasico at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid have had their struggles well documented this season and currently sit third in the league, behind Barcelona and Real’s city rivals Atletico.

The teams met earlier this week and it was the Catalan side who ran out 3-0 winners to go through to the Copa del Rey final.

Here, we take a look at the main talking points ahead of the fixture.

Real reaction

After Wednesday’s 3-0 home loss, Real will be looking for an immediate reaction. They dominated for spells during their cup loss, which manager Santiago Solari will hope to turn into goals on Saturday.

Dominant Barcelona

With a seven-point lead in LaLiga and having knocked their rivals out of the Copa del Rey, Barcelona have been the more impressive side this season.

In recent seasons, Real have struggled in this fixture – their most recent victory was in April 2016 when goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo inspired a 2-1 turnaround victory at the Nou Camp.

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Goalscorer Luis Suarez

The Uruguayan has enjoyed the El Clasico in recent years, having scored in all but one of their last five meetings since December 2017, including a hat-trick in this season’s 5-1 thrashing of Real on October 28.

Suarez added two more to his record on Wednesday, including a Panenka-style penalty in the second half to seal Barcelona’s victory.

Can goals be expected?

The last 10 El Clasico clashes in La Liga have averaged more than four goals a game, with one clash featuring seven goals and another producing six.

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The last 0-0 draw in the league was in 2002 and the last 1-0 was in 2009. Prolific goalscorer Lionel Messi remains the top goalscorer in the clash, with 26 to his name for Barcelona.

Questions over Bale?

Gareth Bale drew attention to himself after a muted response to his team-mates’ celebrations following his late penalty in Sunday’s 2-1 LaLiga win at Levante on Sunday.

The Welshman came on as a substitute against Barcelona just as the visitors started to dominate on Wednesday and has yet to win over some Bernabeu supporters.

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