Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet twice in four days, beginning with the second leg of their finely poised Copa del Rey semifinal on Tuesday.
In the first match at the Bernabeu four weeks ago, Raphael Varane struck a deserved late equalizer for the home side after Cesc Fabregas had put Barcelona in front.
Back at Camp Nou, the Blaugrana will now be favorites to progress. Madrid showed, though, in the first leg, that despite their poor season in La Liga, they are still more than capable of matching Barcelona one-on-one.
The match begins a week that will define Madrid’s season. Not only do they face their fierce rivals in the cup, but they’ll also face-off in the league before taking on Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
Failure to progress past Barcelona and the Premier League leaders and it would essentially signal the end of Madrid’s season and perhaps even the reign of Jose Mourinho.
There is plenty of pressure for Barcelona too. A 2-0 defeat to Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie exposed their dip in form in recent weeks. A loss to Madrid and there are likely to be even more serious questions asked about the state of a team that looked poised to not only dominate Spanish football this season but in Europe as well.
The match will kick-off at 3 p.m. eastern time, with coverage to be provided by beIN Sport.