10 Dec 2011

Real Madrid - Barcelona

Whites look for a record 16th straight victory and to strengthen their position at the top of the league table

Real Madrid and Barcelona come face to face at the Bernabeu on Saturday (22:00 CET) in the first La Liga Clasico of the season. Real have a three-point lead over runners-up Barça (who have played one more game) and have a chance to earn a record 16th straight victory with a win over the eternal foe.
The Whites currently have the best numbers in the championship thanks to their spectacular performances of late. They've been undefeated in 16 straight games, earning 15 victories by winning all their matches in October, November and (so far) December. "Our men are increasingly confident," said assistant coach Aitor Karanka in the pre-match press conference, "Whatever happens tomorrow, only three points are at stake. Our team has balance and this game won't change that."
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*Have played one more game

Real Madrid have had six games at the Bernabeu in La Liga this season, winning all six by scoring three goals or more. The Whites are the only team in the championship that's won everything at its stadium, and it's earning equally impressive numbers in the Champions League, with three victories in three home clashes in that competition, and 13 goals.

Real top the rankings for victories, goals and assists in La Liga, and these brilliant collective numbers stand side-by-side with excellent individual marks: Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer so far with 17 strikes, Higuain is the most efficient player needing less than 60 minutes to score, and Di Maria is the top assist-man in the competition with 10 served goals (followed by Ronaldo with six). Jose Mourinho has called-up all his available men for the clash as well as Castilla goalkeeper Jesus.

On the road in the league, Barça have earned two victories, three draws and one defeat. They've scored eight goals and conceded seven as visitors. They've obtained three victories, one draw and one defeat in their last five league games, including last week's thrashing of Levante at the Camp Nou.

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Barcelona81161550  90170

Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas were signed this summer as new additions to last season's squad. Guardiola's team has a well defined style of touch and possession football that, as Karanka said, has many variants. "We know all the systems they may use and we're working on it," said the assistant coach. Barcelona have quality players in every position and great mobility in attack.

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