BARCELONA – Real Madrid and Barcelona will celebrate this Saturday the 246th Classic in history in such a special confrontation for the stage (it will be the first time it will be played at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium) and for the significance of the result, imposing a sentence perhaps fictitious that the winner of the duel will become the top favorite to win a League whose leader is still Atlético de Madrid.
On Saturday, yes, there will be a change, even if it is provisional, in the leadership considering that Simeone’s team will play until Sunday at Villamarín.
A victory for Real would equalize the two Madrid clubs at the top of the table (favored by the Madridistas for the particular goal average) and would return that place to Zidane’s for the third time this season, a condition that they enjoyed for the last time on 23 December, also matched up front (although with two pending matches the colchoneros) and ahead of Koeman’s Barça by eight points. On December 30, Madrid drew (1-1) in Elche and since then the leadership has always been, alone, for Atlético.
In the case of Barça and in the absence of a direct duel with Atlético at the Camp Nou, a draw in Valdebebas would catapult them, evenly, to first place thanks to their better goal difference, while a victory would place them as the leader alone, with two points of rent and causing both a drop perhaps not definitive but very dangerous for Madrid and a maximum pressure for Atlético in their match against Real Betis.
It would also be the first time that the Barça team enjoyed the lead since June 16, 2020, on matchday 29 of last season. Three days later the team led by Quique Setién drew at Pizjuán against Betis and the controversial subsequent victory of Real in Anoeta against Real Sociedad sent him to a first place that he would no longer lose. Thus, after 38 days, a full league season, Barça is ready to return to this privileged position.
Barcelona, which will travel to the capital of Spain on Saturday, announced, contrary to what is usual, the list of summoned this Friday, highlighting, among the 23 mentioned, the presence of Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto, who received the medical discharge and will travel to Madrid although Koeman did not reveal if any of them will enter the starting eleven.
The doubt of the center-back would directly affect the position of Frenkie de Jong and, also, the system that he can use, keeping the three center-backs, something that Zidane could also do at Real Madrid.
The French coach will not be able to count on Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, absences of great importance in the rear but who, as Koeman warned from Barcelona “will be well replaced by other players as was seen the other day against Liverpool”.