|Luis Suarez and Sergio Ramos for El Clasio (Image Credit: beIN Sports)
Barcelona host eternal rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday in the first derby between both sides this season.
It is the first time in 11 years an El Clasico will be played without the legendary duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese left Madrid for Juventus in the summer, while the Argentinian broke his right arm in last weekend’s 4-2 victory over Sevilla.
Both teams have blown cold and hot this season, with Sunday’s visitors winning four and losing three of their opening nine games, while the hosts, who currently top the league, have won five, drawn three and lost one of their league games.
With the capital club currently seventh in the table, under-fire Madrid’s boss Julen Lopetegui has to win against Barcelona if he is to keep his job, and he has to name his best XI to have a chance of winning, while Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde will also be looking to prove he can get a vital win without Messi.
Here is how both teams could lineup on Sunday.
Marcelo. Raphael Varane. Sergio Ramos. Nacho
Toni Kroos. Casemiro. Luka Modric. Isco
Karim Benzema. Gareth Bale
While he has often lined up 4-3-3 mostly, Lopetegui could be forced to go with a four-man midfield by bringing Isco into the equation.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Jordi Alba. Gerard Pique. Clement Lenglet. Sergi Roberto
Ivan Rakitic. Arthur Melo. Sergio Busquets
Philippe Coutinho. Luis Suarez. Rafinha
With Messi out, Ousmane Dembele was supposed to get his chance to shine, but unfortunately for the French youngster, Rafinha took his chance against Inter Milan, scoring the winner during Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League win, and is now favourite to retain his starting berth against Madrid.
This is a game where both sides are expected to score and a narrow win is expected.
Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 1