Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Barcelona welcome Real Madrid to Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday for El Clasico, which will be played without Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since 2007.

When Sunday’s match between Barcelona and Real Madrid comes around at 11: 15 a.m. ET. The Barcelona star will miss the game due to his fractured arm suffered last weekend, while Ronaldo no longer plays for Real Madrid. El Clásico is back. That’s right, the biggest fixture in the Spanish soccer calendar is approaching, as FC Barcelona welcomes Real Madrid to Camp Nou this weekend.

Considering the rivalry and the hostilities that these two teams have enjoyed over the years, the welcome will be anything but friendly. Real desperately needs a confidence-boosting victory to climb La Liga but may struggle at Barça, as the Catalans can retain their dominance at the top of the table should they topple Los Blancos on Sunday.

This will be a rare El Clásico as both teams will be missing their historical top performers. Cristiano Ronaldo famously left Madrid to join Juventus FC in the summer, while Lionel Messi fractured his arm and is sidelined for three weeks after falling awkwardly in the club’s recent 4-2 victory over Sevilla.

Simply put, Real Madrid stinks right now. The team is going through a really rough moment and had a goal-scoring drought thata lasted over 400 minutes. The team went winless in five consecutive games, losing four of them. It boils down to not having a finisher like Cristiano Ronaldo in attack. The team has created chances but the scoring boost has been absent. For a club used to being dominant, it lost at home to Levante and struggled to beat Viktoria Plzen just days later in the Champions League. Not good.

Even with Ronaldo now at Juventus and Messi sidelined through injury, the match is not short of star quality, with players like Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez all expected to feature in one of football’s most watched matches.

Dani Carvajal is not expected to be make it so Nacho should start at right back, but Marcelo is fully fit again and should feature on the left. In midfield, Luka Modric could start despite his evident fatigue, with Dani Ceballos waiting in the wings should he be called upon.

Los Blancos have the edge when it comes to head to head results, winning 95 of the 238 games played in all competitions. Barca are only two behind on 93, with 50 fixtures ending in draws.

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last four La Liga games against Madrid but haven’t beaten their bitter rivals in the league at Camp Nou since March 2015, when Jeremy Mathieu and Luis Suarez netted.

Real Madrid’s biggest win came in 1943 when they smashed Barca 11-1 in the Copa del Rey. Barcelona have recorded seven victories by five goal margins, the most recent coming in 2010 when David Villa scored twice in a 5-0 success.

Much has been made of Real Madrid’s recent poor form, with manager Julen Lopetegui expected to be sacked if his side lose on Sunday. Strangely enough, they are only four points behind Barcelona, who currently top La Liga, so a win could turn the mood around the Bernabeu.

They’ll have to overcome some stuttering recent form to prevail on Sunday, with the Viktoria Plzen triumph their first win in six games. Barcelona haven’t had too many issues this season, although they will be frustrated their lead at the top of La Liga is not as big as it could be after drawing three of their nine games.

​Real Madrid have had a bit of a mare in recent weeks with some shoddy results, but they should be a little more confidence following their Champions League win against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday. ​Barca showed they can beat Europe’s elite without Lionel Messi when they bested Inter and they’ll be confident of picking up a good result on Sunday.