The last time these two teams met was in an October La Liga fixture with Barcelona emerging 5-1 winners at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona welcome Real Madrid to the Camp Nou on February 7 for the Copa Del Rey semi-final first leg. The tie will be the first of three 'El Classicos', which will be held in the span of 25 days. Real Madrid host the reverse of this fixture on February 27 and both teams will then square off in a La Liga tie on March 2.
The last time that these two teams met was in an October La Liga fixture with Barcelona emerging 5-1 winners at the Camp Nou. Luis Suarez was the hero in that fixture as he scored a hat-trick while Messi was sidelined with a broken arm. That match cost then Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui his job and since then the Galacticos are a very different side under Santiago Solari.
Madrid come into this game on the back of their best run of form in nearly a year. They have won five successive games in all competitions and an away goal could be vital for them heading into the reverse fixture.
Barcelona have enjoyed great success in the Copa Del Rey winning the past four finals to take their overall tally of trophies in this competition to a record 30. Real are third on the list of all-time winners in the competition having lifted the trophy on 19 occasions. The Galacticos will be eager to reduce the gap between them and their rivals especially since their last triumph in the tournament came back in 2014.
Barcelona continue to sweat over the fitness of Lionel Messi, the all-time leading scorer in El Classico history, who suffered a thigh strain in their 2-2 draw against Valencia. Messi has been named in the squad however and a call on his inclusion will be taken just before the game.
Manager Ernesto Valverde said in his pre-match conference, "It is true that sometimes we have had doubts with players and we have waited until the last moment. It's the same with Messi."
Real Madrid coach Solari has expressed hope that Messi is able to participate in the first leg for the good of the game. Solari has said that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's presence will not affect his preparations for the tie as he prepares for a full-strength Barcelona attack.
French winger Ousmane Dembele will miss this game as he continues to focus on his fitness since recovering from a hamstring injury. Messi will most likely make the squad but whether he will start depends on the pre-match assessment.
Barcelona will also be without Rafinha, Samuel Umtiti and Jasper Cillessen due to injury.
Solari will have a fully fit squad to pick from except for young Spanish defender Jesus Vallejo who is out with a muscular issue.
Barcelona (4-3-3:) Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Arthur, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Coutinho
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilon; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius
Players to watch out for:
The last time these two teams met was in the La Liga where Suarez scored a hat-trick to condemn Madrid to a 5-1 defeat. Messi missed that game with a broken arm and Suarez could once again be forced to step up as the talismanic Argentinean could miss this game with a thigh strain.
The young Brazilian has made great strides under the coaching of Santiago Solari who has entrusted greater responsibility on the 18-year-old. Vinicius has 2 goals and 6 assists in the Copa Del Rey this season and could make a strong case for his more playing time in the League with a top performance against such high-quality opposition.
Betting odds (Bet365)
Real Madrid: 15/4
Other popular odds can be checked at oddschecker.
PredictionMadrid have scored in each of their last 14 visits to the Camp Nou and with a fully fit squad to pick from we could expect Solari's men to get among the goals once again. However, the last time that Barcelona failed to score at home was way back in 2007. The Catalans are overwhelming favourites to win this tie but Madrid should pick up a vital away goal. Barcelona should emerge 2-1 winners.