It won’t be just another Clasico as while it was set to be a clash without one of its key players over the past ten years in Cristiano Ronaldo, he has now been joined by Lionel Messi who won’t be playing through injury.
It will be a game where all the players will have to assume their fair share of responsibility, as much in the Real Madrid as the Barcelona side, as they have been accustomed to their star men taking centre stage.
More than any other players the focus will be on Karim Benzema and Luis Suarez to come to the fore and fortunately both generally do well in Clasicos.
Suarez generally raises to the occasion in big games and so far he has scored six league goals against Madrid, two more than even Messi in the same number of games.
Clearly the pair of Messi and Suarez have been the main threat for Madrid but this time the Uruguayan will be on his own due to the arm injury suffered by Messi against Sevilla. It will be down to him to lead from the front as although many may talk about Coutinho, the reality is that he is still some way from that role.
Suarez already showed against Inter that he has the leadership qualities required. They will need his goals and assists, with Suarez not at his best in this department so far this season.
A Clasico is a game which needs strong characters and his experience will be important as will that of Pique, Busquets and Rakitic.
“A Clasico is a clasico, in the last one at the end of last season we were already champions and it was a game played at a high tempo,” said Suarez.
“It is always the way and you don’t think about what state of mind the other team is in when they arrive.”
Benzema also has a good record in these games and Barcelona are one of his favourite opponents. He has scored nine goals against them and he has seven assists, with only Malaga and Granada opponents where he has got a better return.
There is more pressure now on the Frenchman with the departure of Ronaldo, and after a promising start, with four goals, he lost his way, although he did look better against Viktoria Plzen.
He is now the fourth all-time top scorer in the Champions League after overtaking Van Nistelrooy and so he only has Ronaldo, Messi and Raul ahead of him.