Football News

Real Madrid v Barcelona predicted XIs: Team news as Clasico stalwart claims Benzema is ‘more complete’ than Lewandowski

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:00, 15 October 2022

Real Madrid and Barcelona are set for another Clásico showdown in Spain’s capital on Sunday afternoon (3:15 pm, UK time).

This is the most played fixture in La Liga history with the sides meeting 184 times in the competition, 76 wins for Real Madrid and 73 for Barcelona and 35 draws – with each team scoring the same number of goals (295).

Real Madrid team news vs Barcelona: 

  • Doubt: Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois is doubtful after sustaining a recent sciatic problem. If the Belgian marksman is unable to return then Andriy Lunin continues in goal. Carlo Ancelotti otherwise has a fully available squad to choose from. David Alaba, Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior could be recalled to Real’s starting lineup after coming off the bench in their Champions League meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the week.

Vinicius should once again support Benzema who has been involved in 20 goals across 38 meetings with Real against Barcelona in all competitions (11 goals and nine assists), a record only surpassed by Lionel Messi in El Clásico in the 21st century (40 – 26 goals and 14 assists).

Sunday’s latest Clasico showdown could be decided by two of football’s most lethal number 9s with Ballon d’Or favourite Benzema once again going head-to-head with Robert Lewandowski who currently leads the Pichichi.

Despite the Pole’s lead, he’s scored six more goals than Benzema heading into this weekend’s fixture, ex-Real marksman Santillana believes his successor is a more complete player than Barça’s main attacking threat.

“As a fan, it’s a delight to see both of them on the pitch, although there are important differences,” he told Marca.

“I think Benzema is more complete, he plays in different areas of the pitch, he supports his teammates, he makes the team play better and he scores a lot of goals up front without Cristiano.

“Lewandowski is more of a boxer. A scorer who only has the goal and scoring goals in his mind. Benzema does not need to score goals to play well, but Lewandowski is more of a scorer.”

Predicted Real Madrid XI vs Barcelona:

  • (4-3-3): Lunin; Carvajal, Militão, Rüdiger, Alaba; Modrić, Tchouaméni, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinícius.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona betting tips from Squawka Bet

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Barcelona team news vs Real Madrid: 

  • Out: Ronald Araújo, Jules Koundé, Andreas Christensen, Héctor Bellerín, Memphis Depay

No fewer than five players are missing for Barcelona this weekend. Xavi visits Spain’s capital without the services of centre-backs Ronald Araújo, Jules Koundé and Andreas Christensen who join Héctor Bellerín and Memphis Depay in the physio room. In spite of the latter’s absence, Robert Lewandowski will lead Barça’s attack. As touched upon he’s the league’s top scorer and in the past has bagged six goals across eight meetings against Real, all in the Champions League, making him the player who has scored the most goals against Los Blancos in history of the competition.

Frenkie de Jong, Franck Kessié, Jordi Alba and Ansu Fati are some of the players who could return to Barcelona’s starting lineup after being named as substitutes in their Champions League tie with Inter Milan on Wednesday evening.

Predicted Barcelona XI vs Real Madrid:

  • (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, García, Piqué, Alba; Busquets, Gavi, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Raphinha.