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Real Madrid Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Barcelona

20:15 GMT+4 26/10/2018
Karim Benzema, Real Madrid
In desperate need of victory at Camp Nou, Julen Lopetegui has an almost clean bill of health for what could prove a decisive match for the coach

Real Madrid are at near-full strength for Sunday's must-win Clasico against Barcelona, as the Merengue look to turn around their stuttering season.

A run of disappointing results has seen the clouds gather over coach Julen Lopetegui, who is rumoured to be on his way out of Santiago Bernabeu.

Only three points will suffice to begin to close a four-point gap between the Liga leaders and Madrid, while defeat would almost certainly seal Lopetegui's fate after just a handful of months in charge

Real Madrid Injuries

There is good news and bad news for Lopetegui with regards to the coach's two big injury worries, both in the full-back position.

Dani Carvajal remains sidelined with a calf injury and resumed light training only this week, meaning he will not take part in the Clasico. 

Left-back Marcelo, however, has made a full recovery from an ankle knock sustained against Viktoria Plzen midweek and will be fit to start at Camp Nou.

Real Madrid Suspensions

Young Brazilian striker Vinicius Junior was the only potential absentee for Madrid due to a red card picked up for Castilla last weekend.

The Spanish Appeals Committee has overturned the second yellow card received by the teenager against Celta B, however, meaning he is cleared to form part of the Merengue squad on Sunday.

Real Madrid potential starting line-up

With just Carvajal missing from Madrid's strongest XI, Lopetegui is expected to keep largely the same line-up that beat Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League

On Tuesday the former Spain coach experimented with Lucas Vazquez at right-back, the wideman giving the Merengue a more attacking option. 

It is unlikely he will go as gung-ho against Barca, though, with Nacho returning to the post and Raphael Varane slotting in alongside Sergio Ramos in the middle of defence. 

The middle will feature Madrid's strongest trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro, while Vazquez returns to the bench. 

Up front Lopetegui will have been happy to see Karim Benzema return to scoring ways after breaking a run of eight games without a goal against Viktoria. 

The Frenchman will be accompanied by Isco and Gareth Bale, who has not netted for the Merengue since September's 3-0 defeat of Roma.

Opta match facts

  • No team has defeated Real Madrid more often in La Liga than Barcelona (70); while no side has beaten Barcelona more in La Liga than Real Madrid (72).
  • Barcelona have scored in each of their last 21 league games against Real Madrid in La Liga (48 goals total) and could equal the best scoring record in El clásico history in the competition - Real Madrid (22 games) between 1959 and 1969.
  • Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last three league games at Camp Nou (W1 D2), never in El clásico history have they managed to stay unbeaten in four consecutive games.
  • Barcelona are unbeaten in each of their last 41 league games at Camp Nou in (W33 D8), their longest such run since February 1977 (67).
  • Real Madrid have lost their last two La Liga games, the last time they lost three successive matches in the competition was back in May 2009 (five).
  • Since his debut in El clasico, Barcelona haven’t won either of the two matches against Real Madrid without Lionel Messi in any competition (D1 L1).
  • This will be the first El clásico Real Madrid will play without Cristiano Ronaldo since his move to Juventus – during his time in Madrid, Real won two games against Barcelona without the Portuguese striker, 2-1 in the 2015 Copa del Rey final and 2-0 in 2017 Spanish Supercopa.
  • This will be the first El Clasico in all competitions without both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since December 2007, when Real Madrid won 1-0 in a La Liga match thanks to a Júlio Baptista winner.
  • Barcelona’s Luis Suárez has scored six league goals against Real Madrid since his debut in the competition during the 2014/15 campaign, more than any other player in that time.
  • Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has scored four headed goals against Barcelona in La Liga, more than against any other team in the competition.
  • Barcelona manager ​​Ernesto Valverde has lost 12 of his 20 league games against Real Madrid (W6 D2), more than against any other team in La Liga.
  • Julen Lopetegui will manage in his first El clasico game - five of the last six Real Madrid managers have lost their opening match against Barcelona in all competitions - only Zinedine Zidane (2-1 at Camp Nou in April 2016) managed to win.
  • Real Madrid have scored 13 goals in La Liga this season, their worst scoring record after their opening nine league games since 2004-05 (eight goals).
  • Real Madrid have collected 14 points in their opening nine La Liga games, their worst record in the competition after nine games played since 2001-02 (10).
  • With defeat to Levante, Julen Lopetegui equaled the worst league start of any Real Madrid manager since Juan Antonio Ipiña in 1952-53 (P9 W3 D3 L3).

TV coverage and kick-off time

Kick off is 15:15 GMT (11:15 ET) on Sunday, and will be shown on Eleven Sports 1 in the United Kingdom. It will be shown on BeIn Sports in the United States, and on various channels around the world.