Real Madrid host defending Champions League and La Liga champs Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, in perhaps the most anticipated match of the 2011-2012 season.

There will be an overflow of talent in Spain's capital as Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, and Cristiano Ronaldo battle it out for the Ballon d'Or.

Real Madrid are currently three points ahead of Barcelona in the La Liga standings, and have played one less game than the Catalans.

However, Barcelona are arguably the best passing team in the world, and a victory on Saturday would be a huge momentum boost. Pep Guardiola's squad have not been their dominate selves this season, but will bring their best against Los Galacticos.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has Real Madrid playing at their highest level in years. Not only have they been excellent in La Liga, they've breeze through group-play in Champions League, going undefeated while outscoring their opponents 19-2 in six games.

Two key players for Mourinho's 4-2-3-1 formation should be Angel Di Maria on offense and Sergio Ramos on defense. Di Maria has been exceptional this season with crosses, and taking advantage of goal-scoring opportunities. Should the Argentine find touches for Ronaldo, Los Blancos can expect to give Victor Valdes headaches. Preventing Messi from finding the back of the net will be Ramos's job, as the defender has done an admirable job filling in for Ricardo Carvalho at centre back.

Guardiola will need defender Eric Abidal and playmaker Andres Iniesta to shine. Abidal has been inconsistent this season, and has been error-prone, but he remains a serviceable left back. The veteran French international will need to contain Ronaldo's runs on the right side. Iniesta will be called upon to make sure that Messi and the attack get their share of touches while also maintaining the excellent Catalan passing attack.

Expect Mourinho to play around with the formations, and go to his bench early in the second half. Either Gonzalo Higuain or Karim Benzema will get the nod at forward, but both will see action. Mesut Ozil is likey to come off the bench, as well. Mourinho doesn't mind winning ugly, so forcing Barcelona out of their passing game by causing many breaks in action will probably be on the menu.

Cesc Fabregas's role will be interesting for Barcelona. He might play more of an attacking role against Real Madrid, as Xavi and Iniesta may go the full 90 minutes.

Despite what many are saying, the result of this match does not necessarily decide which club wins the title.

The Clasico won't be decisive, said former Barcelona manager and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. There are so many games left. Nothing that happens on Saturday will be decisive in the title race.


Real Madrid

G: Casillas
D: Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Arbeloa
M: Khedira, Alonso, Diarra
F: Di Maria, Ronaldo, Benzema


G: Valdes
D: Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
M: Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
F: Sanchez, Messi, Villa