Barcelona will host Real Madrid in an empty Camp Nou on Saturday 24 October, but Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane still expects the occasion to be a special one.
Both sides come into the game after suffering LaLiga defeats last weekend, although they had different fortunes in the Champions League mid-week. Having lost 1-0 away to Getafe in Madrid last Saturday, Barça bounced back by defeating Hungarian minnows Ferencváros 5-1 in their Champions League group opener. Madrid, however, had their embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to newly promoted Cádiz exacerbated by an equally embarrassing home defeat at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk (3-2).
Barcelona vs Real Madrid: What the managers said
Ronald Koeman: “I am sure they are not going to leave the spaces they have left in recent games. We are going to expect a more compact Madrid, with fewer spaces and, for them, it is important that Ramos is there. He is one of the best centre-backs and has a great personality on the pitch. Ramos can influence Madrid on Saturday.”
Zinedine Zidane: “They’re a side who’ve always been a strong team. Each coach has brought different things to the team, but Barça are always Barça. A competitive side who know how to play good football and can make life difficult for you. I’m not going to go into great detail about their play, but it’s good for us to have a game like this against them, one that’ll be tough right from the get-go.”
Losing two consecutive home games to such weak opposition has naturally put question marks over Zidane’s future. But all may be forgiven if Marid can secure a rare win over their arch rivals in the Catalan capital on Saturday, with the French coach acknowledging the game was an opportunity for he and his side to “redeem ourselves” amid the current mini-crisis.
Barcelona predicted XI vs Real Madrid
Starting XI: Neto, Sergiño Dest, Clement Lenglet, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto; Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho; Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi (C)
Sergio Ramos was a big loss for Madrid midweek and his return for the Camp Nou clash will be a priceless boost to the visitors, who are looking to win two consecutive league games against Barcelona for the first time since May 2008.
Real Madrid predicted XI vs Barcelona
Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois, Nacho, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos (C), Marcelo; Fede Valverde, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Vinicius, Karim Benzema.
Al Madrid le ha durado poco el crédito de la pasada Liga, conquistada a costa de su rival de esta noche. Lo dilapidó en dos nefastas noches, ante Cádiz y Shakhtar, que vuelven a situar a Zidane en el disparadero. No es la primera vez. Hace justo un año, sus soldados ya dieron la cara por él en Estambul, y se dejaron guiar hasta la conquista de un par de títulos (Liga y Supercopa de España) que mitigan la sequía en la Champions, que parece ir para largo. LaLiga no sacia del todo el apetito de la hinchada (ni del club), pero permite ir tirando hasta que lleguen tiempos mejores en la relación con la Copa de las orejas grandes.