The second El Clasico of the season will take place overseas on Wednesday as Barcelona meets Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia.
As the 2020-21 Copa de Rey winners, Barcelona matches up with 2020-21 La Liga runners-up Real Madrid in a mouth-watering fixture. The winner will face the team that emerges from the Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao semifinal in Sunday's championship match.
The first time these two teams met this season back in October, the sides traded stoppage-time goals in a 2-1 Real Madrid victory in La Liga play. This time, a spot in the mini-competition's final will be on the line as the loser will go home trophy-less.
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Barcelona is suffering through a highly tumultous season, currently way back in sixth place in the La Liga standings, but a win against Real Madrid can turn the season's fortunes around in a heartbeat and give the fans something to hope for as the club chases a spot in next year's Champions League. Real Madrid, meanwhile, leads the league by five points and will want to ensure it maintains its momentum into the new year after tripping up at Getafe to start the month.
What is the Supercopa de Espana?
Originally intended to be similar to England's Community Shield, pitting the winner of the previous year's League Cup against the winner of the domestic league competition, Spain has morphed its extraneous trophy into an even bigger showcase.
Now a four-team tournament located abroad, the Supercopa de Espana now features the winner and runner-up of the previous season's Copa del Rey against the winner and runner-up of the previous season's La Liga table in a mini-knockout bracket.
The tournament has been held outside Spain since 2018, although the 2021 edition was brought back to Spain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second time it will be held in Saudi Arabia, thanks to a deal signed in 2019 to bring three Supercopas to Riyadh.
How to watch Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
- Date: Wednesday, Jan. 12
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Spanish TV: ESPN Deportes
- Streaming: fuboTV, ESPN+, WatchESPN.com (authenticated users only)
Wednesday's Supercopa de Espana semifinal between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and streamed on ESPN+ (subscribers) and WatchESPN (authentication required).
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid projected lineups
Barcelona will have new signing Ferran Torres available plus young Pedri who both returned negative tests for COVID-19 and traveled to Saudi Arabia. Torres was officially registered and it wouldn't be a surprise if he started. It's all good news for manager Xavi Hernandez given the likes of Sergino Dest, Frenkie de Jong, Ronald Araujo, and Ansu Fati are all recovered and among the squad.
Samuel Umtiti could see time after signing a new team-friendly contract that allowed the club to register Torres in the first place, and his chances might be helped by the absence of Eric Garcia who misses out with a new hamstring injury. Clement Lenglet is also an option at the back.
Barcelona projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen – Alves, Pique, Araujo, Alba – Nico, Busquets, De Jong – Dembele, Jutgla, Depay.
Real Madrid has a nearly fit squad for this event, leaving manager Carlo Ancelotti with a full pick of the lot. His only concerns are Gareth Bale and Mariano Diaz, with the former not appearing since August due to a concoction of injuries and illnesses, including a knee injury, a back problem, and a bout with COVID-19.
The lineup choices for Ancelotti involve the right back spot (Dani Carvajal or Lucas Vazquez) and right wing (Marco Asensio or Rodrygo). Otherwise, expect a fully first-choice Real Madrid lineup to put Barcelona's squad strain to the ultimate test.
Real Madrid projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Courtois – Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy – Kroos, Casemiro, Modric – Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid betting pick & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Simply put, Real Madrid is the better team here, and by a wide margin. Though they're getting players back, Barcelona currently deserves its sixth-place position in the La Liga table. While Real Madrid has its flaws, Los Blancos are a true Champions League title contender, and Barcelona isn't within a sniff of that level.
There's no reason not to back the better side here, with a shot at silverware plus bragging rights in a world-renowned rivalry on the line.
If you really want to go for it, you can back Madrid plus both teams to score and get slightly improved odds, but putting the onus on Barcelona to chip in with the scoring is a risky proposition. While it's likely both teams will find the back of the net in a high-flying match, the better bet is the over as Real Madrid can probably hit that on its own.
Pick: Real Madrid to win & over 2.5 goals (+180)
Prediction: Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid
- Moneyline: Barcelona +265 / Draw +280 / Real Madrid +100
- Spread (Asian Handicap): Barcelona +0.5 (-115) / Real Madrid -0.5 (+100)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -150 / Under +130
- Both teams to score: Yes -190 / No +145