La Blaugrana came away from the Santiago Bernabeu with a 1-0 first-leg lead last month and either Osasuna or Athletic Bilbao will await the aggregrate victors in the trophy match.
- Barcelona came through their win over Elche without any fresh injury concerns to take into account. But all of Pedri (hamstring), Ousmane Dembele (hamstring), Frankie de Jong (hamstring) and Andreas Christensen (calf) were absent fron the contest.
- None of the quartet was seen in training on Sunday, so Xavi will likely be forced to cope without each member for the second leg, while Raphinha is back from a ban served in the top flight but is hardly guaranteed to displace Torres or Fati.
- The latter’s telling contribution at the weekend came after an explosive rant from his father, who hit out at the attacker’s lack of game time during the current campaign amid links with a transfer away this summer, but he has likely played his way into a start in El Clasico.
- Ancelotti is sweating on the fitness of Antonio Rudiger after the German centre-back missed the win over Valladolid with knee discomfort – he will be sent for scans on Monday. But Ancelotti does not believe that the defender is nursing anything serious.
- Either way, Rudiger’s condition will be closely monitored over the next 48 hours, while Ferland Mendy is sure to miss out with a fresh calf problem, and Mariano Diaz has also emerged as a doubt with an unspecified complaint but was never going to start here.
- On a brighter defensive note, Nacho Fernandez has served a La Liga suspension and could cover for Rudiger if need be, while Vinicius Junior was cautioned for the third time in the current Copa del Rey campaign in the first leg. But all yellow cards reset upon completion of the quarter-finals, so the attacker is available here.
Barcelona: er Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Alonso, Balde; Kessie, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
Real Madrid: Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Nacho, Alaba; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Having already locked horns on four occasions this season, both managers will be all-too familiar with the other’s gameplan, and a raft of injuries could deny Barcelona a fourth successive El Clasico triumph this week.
However, Xavi’s side have become an extremely tough nut to crack defensively, and Real’s ruthless rout of Valladolid may not count for much at the Camp Nou fortress, so Barcelona can grind out the draw required to advance to the final and keep their hopes of a La Liga and Copa del Rey double alive.
Our prediction is Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (Barcelona 2-1 on aggregrate)