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Real Madrid are in need of a result against Barcelona on Sunday in El Clasico. They trail the Blaugrana by eight points in the league, and injuries have hurt the Barcelona defense.
Real Madrid's depth allowed them to take more points from the middle of the road teams in La Liga than Barcelona did last season, but they're now put into the precarious situation of having to get a result at Camp Nou. It's the first week of October, and somehow Real Madrid already trails their rivals by eight points.
For the last two years, until last season, La Liga was all about the Clasicos and little else. That was until Barcelona entered last year's second league Clasico with only a slim chance of winning the league, even though they had one the first clash between the two teams. The two aren't getting the exact same results in the league anymore, slightly lessening the importance of last year's Clasicos, as well as Sunday's match.
However, many Madridistas will see the match as a must-win, and Jose Mourinho might feel the same way, even if he's unwilling to admit it. If Barcelona win the match and expand their lead to 11 points, it's tough to see a way back into the league for Los Merengues.
Barcelona injuries and suspensions
Real Madrid injuries and suspensions
Real Madrid have been able to avoid serious injury issues this season, but Barcelona have not been so lucky. Thiago and Puyol are set to miss a couple of months with their injuries. Pique should return to the Barcelona team after the upcoming international break, but don't expect him to get fit in time for the Clasico.
Match Date/Time: 7:50 p.m. local, 1:50 p.m. ET
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
TV: beIN Sport (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), Canal+ (Spain)
Check out our video preview of the match