The visiting Liga leaders are 16 points clear of their third-placed opponents and have not lost a top-flight game at the Santiago Bernabéu since May 2008. Tuesday’s Copa del Rey defeat by José Mourinho’s side – their second reverse in three matches – has dented Barcelona’s morale, however, and the Catalan team will look to respond in the Spanish capital.
“We’ve had a fantastic season to date but when you are eliminated from a competition by Madrid it always hurts,” said midfielder Xavi Hernández after the 3-1 (4-2 on aggregate) midweek loss at Camp Nou. “The two biggest trophies are still to play for and we just need to find our form,” he added.
Real Madrid are set to make several changes for Saturday’s Clasico in Primera against Barcelona to conserve energy for the midweek Champions League trip to Manchester United.
Marcelo, Luka Modric, Kaka and Karim Benzema could all feature after missing out in the 3-1 Copa del Rey win at Camp Nou on Tuesday.
Defender Sergio Ramos returns after serving a one-match ban, but winger Angel Di Maria is ineligible after his red card against Deportivo La Coruna.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is expected to start despite missing training with a fever on Wednesday.
Defender Adriano (hamstring) is available while midfielder Alex Song (knee) is a minor doubt.