With the league title slipping away, Real Madrid will concentrate on the second-leg trip to Manchester United on Tuesday. Having beaten them on Tuesday, Jose Mourinho's side will have a similar game plan and the home fans right behind them. Real will take this clash against their arch rivals as a solid foundation ahead of the trip to Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been the focal points of El Clasico's for a few years now. Messi had taken full control as Barca dominated for a few seasons. But in September the balance of force was equal as both scored in a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou. But Ronaldo has come back with goals in their recent meetings. The 16-point gap means Mourinho is likely to shuffle is squad keeping in mind the trip to Old Trafford. But Barcelona have more to worry with Messi, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas failing to match their standards in the two recent defeats.
Last season, Juventus staged a brilliant comeback to tie the game 3-3 after being 3-1 down in San Paolo in the first half. That match remains the only instance where Conte’s side has conceded three goals in a single match. The Bianconeri brushed aside Napoli in the return leg in Turin on their way to wrestling the Scudetto from Milan. Napoli did manage to get a measure of revenge by defeating Juventus in Coppa Italia final, thus preventing the Bianconeri from sealing their first double in over one and half decades. The two sides once again faced off in pre-season Super Coppa in Beijing. Juventus once again staged a comeback to win that match 4-2. It was a controversial and ill-tempered encounter which saw Napoli reduced to nine men in regulation time. A master class from Paul Pogba helped Juventus score two goals in last 10 minutes to beat Napoli 2-0 in the first encounter of current Serie A season.
Napoli have been the primary challenger to Juventus this season and the match in San Paolo can potentially decide which team will finally lift the Scudetto.
Napoli Team News and Probable Lineups
As it stands, the gap between Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in second spot is 17 points.
However, league matters will be put to one side when the two clubs meet at the Allianz Arena tomorrow night for what will be a DFB-Pokal quarter-final clash.
Bayern, after a season of endless aches, has come back the way they were not quite expected to. This season, they have suffered only two losses in all competitions. This year, Bayern has let in only two goals and has won each and every one of their matches by at least a two goal margin. Dortmund has been playing quite well this season too, especially in the Champions League.
Favorites Bayern Munich will have to make do without the services of France international Franck Ribery, who is suspended because he was sent off during the match against Augsburg in the last round.
His absence is likely to hand a starting opportunity to former Chelsea and Real Madrid winger Arjen Robben.
Barcelona will face off against fierce rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of the 2013 Copa Del Rey in just a few days time, in what promises to be a huge encounter with the tie currently balanced on a knife edge. Football fans across the world will be tuning into the showdown to see who comes out on top between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - arguably the two best players on the planet right now.
In the first leg, the sides battled out a 1-1 draw as nothing could separate the teams, in a closely fought encounter.
Madrid defender Rafael Varane, who is just 19 years of age, was one of the stand out stars of the night, and provided Madrid with a fearless defensive display to keep the big guns of Barcelona quiet for most of the night.
Since that first leg, Barcelona have played four games, winning 2, drawing 1, and losing The La Liga favorites managed to play out a tight draw with Valencia where the game finished 1-1, with Lionel Messi scoring the goal for Barca.
While City manager Roberto Mancini has refused to concede the fight for the title, a 15-point stretch could, unfortunately for City fans, be too much of a gap for City to handle, while the Blues aim to remain in the top four with Tottenham Hotspur breathing down their necks.
Their victory in the FA Cup last weekend against Leeds was compared by Mancini to a "brodino", a "starter soup" common in Italian cuisine; it might not be enough to haul in Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Onto Chelsea. Chelsea, will be attempting a first back-to-back win in the league since late December. The reigning European champions have fared well on the travels recording four wins from their last six played, however their last two matches have yielded a defeat in Newcastle and a crazy draw at Reading, where they were cruising to a 2-0 victory before late heroics from Adam Le Fondre. A win for Rafael Benitez's men will reduce the gap to City to a lonesome point.