El Clásico never needs any assistance from off-field turbulence to become a spectacle, but with Real Madrid joining legal action taken against Barcelona by Spanish authorities regarding alleged attempts to influence refereeing, passions will be running high at Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday.
A home win would mean Barça can go into the international break with a near-impregnable 12-point lead with 12 La Liga (LL) matches left, also setting the stage up for manager Xavi Hernández to try and become the 28th club manager to win their debut home Clásico.
The home team will wear a special ‘ROSALíA El Clásico’ kit on Sunday to celebrate a popular Catalan singer, and Xavi will hope it can spur them on to override a poor recent six-game LL H2H record (W1, L5).
They are probably at the best venue possible to do that as Barcelona are unbeaten in 12 home league games (W10, D2) this campaign, which is their best undefeated start at home at this stage since 2019/20.
With a miserly single goal conceded over this period, the secret of Barça’s success lies at the back, but that could be challenged by a prolific Real Madrid side that has already breached the 50 goals scored milestone.
The reigning Spanish, European and Club World Cup Champions face a season-defining moment as anything but a win could see them instead shift focus to other competitions.
However just three wins from six league matches (D2, L1) isn’t awe-inspiring as Madrid search for domestic answers after securing their passage to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Their recent seven-game away LL form is equally indifferent (W3, D1, L3), but writing Madrid off is always perilous.
Los Blancos have won their last two away H2Hs and could make it just the second time in history that they’ve won three straight such trips.
That would also propel manager Carlo Ancelotti into the history books as the fifth Madrid coach to win at least four top-flight El Clásicos.
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