Andres Iniesta (C) of Barcelona is fouled by Sergio Ramos (L) of Real Madrid as Sami Khedira of Real Madrid looks on during the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain. Los Blancos and Los Cules renew their rivalry this weekend in El Clasico. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona, El Clasico 2011: Both Teams Win In Champions League; Los Blancos Face Cules Saturday

Real Madrid and Barcelona contest this season's first edition of 'El Clasico' on Saturday

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14 Total Updates since December 5, 2011
  • Important 5
  • Updates 8
  • Articles 6
  • All Updates 14

Pep Guardiola And Barcelona Have Not Yet Provided An Answer For Real Madrid's Trivot

Jose Mourinho will be dropping an attacking midfielder for a more defensive one for El Clasico, and for good reason. Pep Guardiola has yet to prove he has an answer for the tactic.

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The Razor Thin Margin Between Success And Failure For Barcelona And Real Madrid

This season's first league meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid is a fantastic example of how little margin for error these two clubs have.

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Ajax Vs. Real Madrid, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Ajax Lose, Drop To Europa League

A combination of Real Madrid's B side and the officiating saw a spirited Ajax side downed 3-0 and improbably exit the UEFA Champions League at the group stages. Coming into the match, the home side were three points clear - and seven goals clear - of Lyon, who needed to make up an improbable number in goal differential to advance. It looked very much as though this game was irrelevant.

It wasn't. Within minutes of kickoff, Kaka had threaded a lovely through pass to Jose Callejon, who made no mistake in dispatching his shot past Kenneth Vermeer to make it 1-0. Despite going down, Ajax played well in the first half and carved out a number of opportunities including two goals which were bizarrely disallowed for offside. Gonzalo Higuain made it 2-0 shortly before halftime, but the hosts by no means deserved to be trailing.

It was a similar story in the second half, with Ajax playing well and simply unable to score. Meanwhile, Lyon were racking up a silly-looking win over Dinamo Zagreb, eventually dispatching their opponents 7-1 to more than make up the goal difference required to knock Ajax out. The Eredivisie side, apparently secure in their knowledge that everything was going to be fine, did little of note in the latter stages of the game, and it was all too easy for Callejon to get a second in stoppage time, consigning Ajax to the Europa League and capping off a crazy Champions League day.

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Barcelona Vs. BATE Borisov, 2011 UEFA Champions League Matchday 6: Time, TV Schedule And Team News

Barcelona will play a second team against BATE Borisov in the UEFA Champions League ahead of El Clasico

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FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo And Xavi Hernandez The Finalists

Lionel Messi, Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the finalists for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or

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Barcelona Vs. Levante, 2011 La Liga: Hosts Crush Levante In 5-0 Rout

Rumours of Barcelona's demise appear to have been greatly overstated. While the La Liga/European/everything champions have dropped eleven points so far this season (they only dropped eighteen all of last year), they're still a side capable of demolishing anyone unfortunate enough to stand in their path. Such a fate befell Levante at the Camp Nou.

Cesc Fabregas struck with two fantastic first half goals (one a very respectable flashing header from a Xavi free kick) and Isaac Cuenca added a third when he finished off a brilliant team move that saw the visiting. Levante looked somewhat capable going forward, but the more players they committed to the attack the easier it was for the hosts to break into the space behind them. Lionel Messi grabbed a forth goal shortly after the break, and the victory was capped off with what would have been the world's cheekiest finish had he actually meant the ball to deflect off Sergio Ballesteros's head, clip the crossbar, and fall in to make it 5-0.

Barcelona could and should have had more, with Andres Iniesta having a legitimate goal ruled out for no reason whatsoever very late in the match, but you don't protest disallowed goals too much when you're beating a team by five, and the hosts will be perfectly content with the results. They're still three points off the top, but that was a strong message sent to Jose Mourinho and company.

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Sporting Gijon Vs. Real Madrid, 2011 La Liga: Full Time, Los Merengues Grab Easy Win

Real Madrid have grabbed yet another league win ahead of El Clasico against FC Barcelona with a 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijon. Referee Eduardo Iturralde González did his best to try and ruin the game by giving out yellow cards for literally every imaginable offense, eventually sending off a Sporting player, but Real Madrid had the win well in hand before that sending off and it did not ultimately affect the outcome.

Angel di Maria scored the opener in the 34th minute after plenty of Madrid dominance. It was a fantastic bad angle left-footed shot by the in-form Argentinian, who has emerged as one of Madrid's most important players this season. The game felt over at that point, but Madrid added two more for good measure.

The clincher was scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, also with a great finish at a very narrow angle. Di Maria's through ball into the box was spectacular and just as impressive as the finish. Marcelo added a necessary third goal in stoppage time for good measure, sending Madrid into the Clasico with some great momentum.

For more on this week's La Liga action, including live coverage, check out our La Liga Week 14 StoryStream. For more on the Blaugranas, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more around the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer.

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