Barcelona face Real Madrid in El Clasico with nothing to lose

Barcelona are ahead of one of the most decisive Clasicos in recent history. If the Blaugranas managed to defeat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, they would come back to the Catalan capital with an almost definitive 14-point gap over Los Blancos.

Barca fans are hugely optimistic ahead of the game, as our recent poll @TheBarcelonaPod clearly exemplifies:
Ernesto Valverde is fully aware of the importance of the clash, not just because of the points at stake but also the potential psychological blow a victory over their eternal rivals would generate: "We have to be alert to any situation because the smallest detail in these types of games can swing it in your favour. Therefore, we must be very attentive to all aspects. We are excited about this match, we come into it at a good time and we are ready to face it. Madrid are a very powerful team in their own stadium, have very quick players, and when it seems that you’re playing well and dominating, they can hit you with very fast counterattacks."

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane didn't downplay the importance of the game either: “It will be the most difficult game of the season. Clásico’s are always very beautiful but very difficult matches, but that’s how we like it. The players live for these games. Whatever happens, we will continue working because the season is very long and these are just three more points. We know the importance of playing well and trying to win but it won’t change anything.”

Here's Barcelona's squad against Real Madrid:
Valverde decided to leave record-signing Ousmane Dembele out of his match squad. While the French international hasn't played an official game since picking up a muscular injury in early September, a conisderable number of Cules were expectation Dembele to play a part in the game as a ate substitute. Common sense prevailed and, as a result, Barcelona fans will have to wait until 2018 to have their new No.11 back on the pitch.

I honestly can't wait another second until the ball starts rolling in El Clasico. Currently on a 24-game unbeaten run, Barca have nothing to lose when the visit the Bernabeu on Saturday. While a defeat wouldn't be a huge disaster, a hypothetical victory would almost certainly knock Real Madrid out of the race for La Liga. With that in mind, it is unquestionable that Valverde's men should be decisively pushing for a win from the very first minute.

Undoubtedly the biggest clash in club football, the millions of viewers who will be sitting in front of their TV screens are certainly in for a treat. As long as both teams go for the win for the initial whistle, we are in for a treat. We previewed the game in our latest The Barcelona Podcast, check it out here:

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