Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Preview and TV schedule

The last time Barcelona and Real Madrid played was in early March when Los Blancos won 2-1 thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos. Both teams now have new coaches, new faces on the roster and this time the title race is still very much on.

Gerardo Martino appears to have just one big decision to make for his starting eleven. Javier Mascherano returned from injury in the midweek against AC Milan and looked a bit rusty. Veteran team captain Carles Puyol did not play in Italy after starting against Osasuna last weekend. Does Martino go with Puyol, arguably the heart and soul of the team, or stick with Mascherano who has been his first choice starter all season? I tend to believe he'll go with Puyol but we'll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile Carlo Ancelotti has a decision to make as well on the right side of his attack. Angel di Maria has done nothing lately to deserve losing his spot in the lineup but big money signing Gareth Bale is finally healthy and catching up on match fitness. Los Blancos brought in Bale to start and if he's ready to go, it makes sense to put him in the lineup.

There's also the question of whether to start Isco or Luka Modrić in the midfield though Ancelotti has consistently being starting Isco in league play and Modrić in Champions League play so far this season.

If Bale starts, or plays, it will be his Clásico debut but he likely won't be alone in getting his first taste of this massive rivalry. Barcelona's big summer addition Neymar will be playing in his first match against Los Blancos while Isco and Asier Illarramendi would face Barca for the first time wearing the famous white jerseys of Madrid.

Barcelona injuries and suspensions

Out: Jordi Alba (thigh). In doubt: Gerard Pique (hamstring).

Real Madrid injuries and suspensions

Out: Xabi Alonso (foot).

For Barca, Gerard Piqué is a slight doubt with a hamstring tweak. Unless he has a setback during warm-ups, it's hard to see him not starting. Jordi Alba remains sidelined with a thigh injury, his second in succession this season. Xabi Alonso continues to recover from foot surgery for Real Madrid but Ancelotti's side is otherwise healthy.

Projected lineups

Barcelona: Victor Valdés, Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, Adriano, Sergio Busqets, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez, Neymar, Lionel Messi.

Team 2: Diego Lopéz, Álvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi, Isco, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema.

Match Date/Time: 6 p.m. local, 12 p.m. ET

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

TV: beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Español (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.), GOL T, Canal+ Liga / HD (Spain)

Online: beIN Sport Play (U.S.), Sky Go (U.K.), beIN Sport Play (Canada), GOL Stadium (Spain)

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Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Preview and TV schedule

This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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