Come Saturday, all eyes will be fixed at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the second part of the much anticipated match up between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona. Call it 'El Clasico,' 'El derbi Español,' or just simply 'Real Madrid v Barcelona' and you will expect a lot of support being thrown at these two Spanish giants across the world.
For Real Madrid, they will be seeking revenge after they were literally murdered by Barcelona at the Camp Nou - 5-0, making it one of the worst defeat for Madrid maestro Jose Mourinho who, ironically, was an assistant to both Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal during their tenure in Barcelona. Barcelona though, are keen on keeping their domination over their fierce rivals as this match will also serve as a curtain raiser to the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final next Wednesday, and of course the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League where they last met in 2002 with Madrid advancing to the final and winning the European Cup for a record ninth time.
Josep Guardiola will have a headache as he will be missing the services of captain Carles Puyol, who defended very well against Cristiano Ronaldo in the previous encounter. Even though Puyol is out, Gerard Pique will be partnered with Gabriel Milito in defense. In the attack, expect that Xavi Hernandez as the main threat as his pin point passing has always been effective with Lionel Messi or David Villa providing the goals.
Over for the capital side, Mourinho will have the services of his four strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Emmanuel Adebayor. In addition, Kaka is finding his lost form as he scored two goals from the spot plus assisted Ronaldo against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. However the defense will still be in question as they were exposed by Tottenham last Wednesday and escaped punishment as two penalty claims were denied by the referee.
Aside from the the pre-match mind games, there are two questions yet to be answered. First is whether Cristiano Ronaldo will break his jinx of being unable to score against Barcelona. He was almost on the score sheet back in 2008 when his spot kick for Manchester United sailed over the bar. The second if whether Lionel Messi will be able to score against Jose Mourinho's team. He has been unable to score against teams managed by Mourinho.
This is it. It's the super bowl of football. Now the £100M question is will Real Madrid exact revenge or will Barcelona have a firm grip on the La Liga title for the third consecutive season. Come Saturday all the questions will be answered, and possibly more questions will arise as there are still three matches remaining between these two giants this season.
Now before leaving, here's the highlights from their last fixture. If you're a Madridista, better start believing for revenge, and if you're a Cules, you hope it will be déjà vu at the Bernabeu.