On October 16, 2022, Real Madrid and Barcelona will meet at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the first El Clasico of the 2022/23 La Liga season.
There’s still a while before the 185th La Liga edition of El Clasico, but both teams are surely salivating at the thought of this epic confrontation.
Both teams are heavy favourites to keep fighting for the league title right up until the last weekend.
There’s a lot more at stake than just pride in this matchup between the two best clubs in Spain.
As Real Madrid and Barcelona they head into the international break in September as the domestic pacesetters, reigning champions Real Madrid have experienced a stunning title defence, winning all nine matches across all competitions, including six in La Liga.
Despite without their key first-team star Karim Benzema due to injury, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been doing well so far this season.
During the first half of Madrid’s 3-0 thrashing of Scottish Premiership champions Celtic in the opening match of the Champions League in early September, Madrid’s talismanic striker suffered a knee injury.
Despite without Benzema, the Champions League holders have won three straight matches, including a 2-1 road victory against Atletico Madrid in their most recent outing that boosted morale.
To prepare for El Clasico, the Frenchman has reportedly resumed his training regimen and is close to a full recovery.
For the first time since 2008, Ancelotti’s men have set the stage for a successful season in La Liga.
The current runners-up in La Liga, Barcelona, are not taking things lightly under Xavi Hernandez’s direction, as their five-game winning streak in the league shows.
Catalan giants have been on fire ever since their season-opening 0-0 home draw with Rayo Vallecano; since then, they’ve won five straight La Liga matches by an aggregate score of 18-1.
The Blaugrana have found a new leader in Robert Lewandowski as they look to restore domestic supremacy after missing out on the league title the past two seasons.
Incredibly, the former Bayern Munich superstar entered the international break as La Liga’s leading striker with eight goals, a total that he has maintained throughout his debut season.
Revenged poised fixture
The humiliating 4-0 loss in this matchup last season left a sour taste in Madrid’s mouths, despite the fact that they had left Barcelona a staggering 13 points behind their way to winning a record-extending 35th La Liga title.
Even though Ancelotti’s squad won 2-1 over Barca in their first meeting of the 2021/22 season at Spotify Camp Nou, the team still has nightmares of being embarrassed in front of their own fans.
Madrid had won back-to-back home league H2Hs until the Catalans ran them over in March, but they have failed to score in three of their previous five top-flight matches in the capital (W2, L3).
There will be plenty of drama for onlookers at the Bernabeu, but neither Los Merengues nor Barca will be looking to make friends.