Soccer

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid projected lineups, El Clasico starting XIs: Karim Benzema fit, Ronald Araujo returns

El Clasico is back again on Sunday when Barcelona host Real Madrid at Spotify Camp Nou in La Liga with Xavi’s men nine points clear of Carlo Ancelotti’s side. These two will meet again once more next month in their Copa del Rey semifinal second leg which Barca lead, but this one is likely Real’s final chance to perhaps claw back some ground in the title race. The hosts won the Spanish Supercopa Clasico — because you can never have too many instalments in a single season — but the visitors won the earlier La Liga encounter and could complete a league double.

Probable starting lineups

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Gavi.

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Tchouameni, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.

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Karim Benzema, Federico Valverde and Rodrygo did the damage when Real beat Barca 3-1 in La Liga back in October at Santiago Bermabeu as Ferran Torres grabbed a consolation strike. However, much has changed since then — notably the league table which now has the Blaugrana nine points clear of Los Blancos.

Xavi’s men exacted some revenge in the SuperCopa with a 3-1 victory in Saudi Arabia with Gavi, Robert Lewandowski and Pedri all scoring to earn a first title under the legendary former Spain international. Benzema got a consolation effort that day and also scored in midweek as Real advanced past Liverpool in the UEFA Champions league with Barca’s European run over this campaign.

An Eder Militao own goal was all that separated these two in the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg in Madrid and Real will be making this trip once more next month when they come back for the return leg. Depending on the outcome of this one, the cup could more important for Ancelotti’s side who need these three points to keep their slim title defense hopes alive.

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Sunday, Mar. 19 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • Location: Spotify Camp Nou — Barcelona
  • Live stream: ESPN+ 
  • Odds: Barca +120; Draw: +240; Real +220 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

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