Real Madrid, with star striker Karim Benzema doubtful, will host Xavi Hernández’s new-look Barcelona in the El Classico at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday at 21:00 CET (20:00 GMT). 

Madrid’s Karim Benzema, who is La Liga’s leading goal-scorer this season, is doubtful after he injured his left leg in the final minutes of a 3-0 win at Mallorca on Monday. He had to leave the game after scoring twice to take his league-leading tally to 22 goals. The 34-year-old might miss the game against Barcelona. 

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However, in Benzema’s absence, manager Carlo Ancelotti, is expected to turn to winger Vinícius Júnior to lead Real Madrid’s attack. Marco Asensio could be roped in as a false nine and Federico Valverde could be given a second straight start to cover for Benzema. 

Barcelona, on the other hand, have moved upwards in the table since they last played archrivals Real Madrid. The Catalans used the January transfer window to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Adama Traoré and strengthen their attack. The move has worked so far. Aubameyang and Torres have amassed 11 goals between them in two months. 

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While Coutinho and Agüero are no longer on the team, 38-year-old Dani Alves has returned to play at right back. Ousmane Dembélé, who was injured when they played in October, is also providing a spark to Barcelona’s attack.

Aubameyang has scored six goals in just nine appearances, with Torres adding another five goals. Memphis Depay has also scored twice recently. 

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The last time Barcelona and Real Madrid locked horns, the layyer were defeated 2-1.

With 10 games left, Madrid leads Sevilla by 10 points and both Barcelona and Atlético Madrid by 15.

Real Madrid’s predicted line-up (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Nacho Fernandez; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric; Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.

Barcelona’s predicted line-up (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong; Ousmane Dembele, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres.