This Sunday’s El Clásico will pit FC Barcelona and Real Madrid against each other once again at the Spotify Camp Nou.
It’ll be a decisive match for both clubs and it will produce many individual duels worth paying attention to, both on the pitch and in the dugouts.
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From the contests in midfield to the tactical chess match on the benches, several of the most important figures at both clubs will be going head-to-head.
Gavi vs Aurélien Tchouaméni
The battle for the midfield will be marked by youth, as an 18-year-old and a 23-year-old will produce one of the most interesting and physical duels in El Clásico.
Gavi, FC Barcelona’s Spanish midfielder, makes up for his lack of height with aggression and bravery, allowing him to cover a large portion of the pitch.
He is the player who commits the second-most fouls in LaLiga, with 54, which speaks volumes about his intensity.
Tchouaméni, who is Real Madrid’s leader in recoveries with 28 balls recovered, will be up against him on the other side.
The midfielder also contributes in attack, where he already has three goal assists, the last one going to Éder Militão in the last matchday against RCD Espanyol.
Xavi vs Carlo Ancelotti
The latest edition of the tactical duel between Xavi and Ancelotti will be taking place too, after they have already faced each other several times this season.
There will be a few more matches in which they will cross swords, and it’s increasingly fascinating since they are getting to know each other well and they both understand how the other side likes to play.
This tactical battle comes after they recently met in El Clásico in the Copa del Rey at the Bernabéu, a match in which Barcelona posted their lowest possession percentage since records began.
Yet, despite that poor stat, Los Blaugrana won that day.
Both coaches will be studying that game to try to change what happened, as Xavi will want more of the ball and Ancelotti will want a different result to the 1-0 loss suffered at the Bernabéu.
Marc-André ter Stegen vs Thibaut Courtois
Two of the best goalkeepers in the world will also face each other in this El Clásico.
Ter Stegen is on a great run in terms of goals conceded, one that could see him make LaLiga history.
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Paco Liaño and Jan Oblak share the honour of being the goalkeepers with the lowest goals conceded per game over the course of a full season, with 0.47 per match, but Barcelona’s German goalkeeper has so far conceded just eight goals in 25 matches, giving him an average of 0.32 goals conceded per game.
In the opposite goal frame will be an old acquaintance in Courtois, who is also averaging less than a goal conceded per game, with 0.87 per match. His impressive saves have helped Real Madrid this season, week in and week out.
Alejandro Balde vs Fede Valverde
While many eyes will be on the duel between Vinícius and Ronald Araújo, there will be another fast-paced battle on the other flank in this El Clásico.
The 19-year-old left-back Balde, who has established himself as a starter at Barça, and the 24-year-old Valverde, who is now one Real Madrid’s most important players in the pecking order, will be up against each other.
Óscar Hernández vs Davide Ancelotti
Not only will the duel between the head coaches be interesting, but the one between their assistant coaches will be too, especially since they’re both family members.
Oscar Hernández is the brother of Barcelona coach Xavi, while Davide Ancelotti is the son of Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
They might ultimately make decisions that could change the outcome of this El Clásico.
LaLiga fixtures this weekend
Real Valladolid vs Athletic Club, 10pm
Almería vs Cadiz, 3pm
Rayo Vallecano vs Girona, 5.15pm
Espanyol vs Celta Vigo, 7.30pm
Atletico Madrid vs Valencia, 10pm
Real Betis vs Mallorca, 3pm
Osasuna vs Villarreal, 5.15pm
Real Sociedad vs Elche, 5.15pm
Getafe vs Sevilla, 7.30pm
Barcelona vs Real Madrid, 10pm