Anyone with at least a passing interest in this early season Clásico will know what happened in the first leg. Real Madrid left the Camp Nou with a very comforting 3-1 scoreline in their favour and headlines,
and parodies , were made from Gerard Piqué’s own goal, Luis Suárez’ simulation, Cristiano Ronaldo’s super goal, celebration, red card and referee push. And let’s not forget the late, but rather memorable strike from young Blancos sensation, Marco Asensio. The scene is set for another battle but Barcelona are the ones who have it all to do.
Real Madrid team news
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to Zinedine Zidane’s selection decisions for the second leg – although the feeling around the camp, and indeed amongst the supporters, is generally positive given theirs, and their rivals, current situations. Cristiano Ronaldo is suspended for the game thanks to the first leg incidents but Luka Modric will likely come back into the side after serving his held-over-from-2014 ban on Sunday. Assuming the Croatian takes up his place in midfield, Kovacic would be expected to step aside although he has proven himself more than capable of stepping up when called upon.
With goalkeeper and defensive line picking itself at the moment, the only other decision for Zidane is whether he gives young Asensio a place from the start. The 21-year old is shining almost every time he takes to the field but will most probably come off the bench later in the game with Bale and Benzema, both currently struggling to impress the Madrid faithful, taking their places in a side sparkling under the control of Isco. Many see him as a clear, and competent, replacement to Andrés Iniesta in the Spanish national team side.
Some fans are planning on holding a protest at the perceived anti-Madrid officiating during the game. But
most will just be planning a celebratory night at the expense of their most bitter of rivals.
Barcelona team news
News breaking late on Tuesday was that the creative genius of Andrés Iniesta would not form part of Barcelona’s comeback plans . The player came off midway through the second half at the Camp Nou and
an injury to his right thigh means he will sit this one out, possibly missing the opening league game against Real Betis at the weekend too. Sergi Roberto came on in his place in the first leg and is expected to start at the Bernabéu, although other midfield options are available to Ernesto Valverde including Denis Suárez and Andre Gomez. New, and somewhat controversial signing Paulinho is due to complete his medical on Thursday so will not be eligible to play.
With Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez in their side, it would be wise not to write the Catalans off just yet. Yes, the loss of Neymar to PSG was evident on Sunday and Gerard Deulofeu will have to up his game significantly if he is to claim that third attacking slot. More likely though, a new, and very expensive face will turn up to give Valverde’s new plan a lease of life that the team are crying out for. This won’t be in time to help this game. The manager has his strongest defenders again but stopping this Madrid squad from scoring is proving tough. A confidence boosting win on the night would do wonders for a club struggling for answers to questions from all angles. Taking the trophy from under the noses of their biggest rivals in their own home, well that would change everything.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona stream online: Spanish Super Cup, potential starting line-ups
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Bale, Benzema, Isco
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Vidal, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Messi, L. Suarez, Deulofeu