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Real Madrid vs Barcelona, El Clasico 2017: Team News, Match Preview

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The big one.

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FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Just as sure as the sun will rise each morning, Real Madrid and Barcelona will wake up and hate each other. Years in the future, even if the two find themselves in the Tercera Division or playing non-league football, they will continue to hate each other.

Like the Hatfields and McCoys, Real Madrid and Barcelona will hate each other for so long that the day will come when they forget why they even hate each other. It’s just the way things are.

The stakes for this Clasico are especially high. Here’s what happens if Real Madrid...

Win: Los Blancos go six points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand, with five matches remaining.

Lose: Barca go level on points and top of the table thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Draw: Nothing...really...changes.

The two each had to go to war midweek, and we all know how that went. Barça are an animal in a corner, out of the Champions League and fighting for their Liga lives. Madrid, meanwhile, have Atléti to look ahead to while also trying stay atop La Liga.

Any advantage Madrid gained from playing their UCL tie a day before Barça was probably washed out after it went to extra time. Each team will be digging deep for every last bit of energy.

Cristiano’s late injury against Bayern doesn’t seem to be serious, but it’ll be interesting to see how he moves in the early going. His wing-mate Gareth Bale is back in the squad after some time nursing an injury.

Zidane’s toughest decision is what to do on the right side. Does he ride the red-hot Isco? Or does he slot back in world-beater Gareth Bale?

Unfortunately for Madrid, they’re without center back and Messi-eraser Raphael Varane, who’s out with injury. Sergio Ramos and Nacho will have the pleasure of dealing with the Barça attack, which will be without Neymar, whose antics a few weeks ago earned him a suspension.

Neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona are at full-strength, but such is life in La Liga in late April. Depth and fitness will be key, so expect to see Marco Asensio to come onto the pitch and try to do that thing he does where he’s just faster than everyone else from the hour mark on.

How to watch El Clasico

Kick-off time: 20:45 CET, 02:45pm EST.

Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2 (Ronaldo, Benzema)-0 FC Barcelona

Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), Movistar Partidazo (Spain).

Available streaming: BeIN Sports Connect (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a huge offer for new members and Managing Madrid readers).

Projected lineups:

Real Madrid: Navas; Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Carvajal; Casemiro, Kroos, Modrić; Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale

Barcelona: ter Stegen; Umtiti, Pique, Sergi Roberto, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic; Suárez, Messi, Paco Alcácer

Staff Predictions

Result (1) Score (2) Goal Scorers (3) Total Score
Result (1) Score (2) Goal Scorers (3) Total Score
Om RM Win 2-1 CR7, Ramos; Higuaín 42
Kiyan RM Win 3-1 Benz, CR7, Asensio; Pjanic 45
Timm RM Win 2-1 (RM win extra time) CR7, Ramos; Dybala 41
Mike - - - 34
Lucas RM Loss 1-2 CR7; Higuaín, Dybala 26
Nate RM Win 4-2 -CR7x2, Bale, Morata; Higuain, Dybala 47
Marc - - - 3
Lewis - - - 10
Tommy RM Loss 1-2 Benz; Higuaín, Mandzukic 19
Naguib RM Win 2-0 CR7, Bale 29
Vicki - - - 1
Ondra RM Win 2-0 CR7, Ramos 18
Jack RM Win 2-2 (RM win on pk's 4-3) CR7, Ramos; Dybala x2 6
Matt RM Win 1-0 CR7 8
Sam RM Win 2-1 - 1
José RM Win 3-1 CR7 x2, Morata; Mandzukic 3