Although Real Madrid managed to claim a largely symbolic victory against Barcelona in one of their five meetings last season, coming away with an extra time win to claim the Copa del Rey (a competition so highly valued that Los Blancos ran the trophy over with a bus), they haven't shown any sort of ability to scare their opponents. In the league and in Europe, Jose Mourinho's anti-Barcelona strategy appears to have been 'try to stop them and hope a goal magically appears'.
Luck may well be less necessary this season, with Madrid a much improved side and in fantastic form to boot, but it will still play a big part. The hosts might be slight favourites for the match on Saturday, but as Gabe Lezra from SB Nation Los Blancos blog Managing Madrid points out, they'll need the little things to go in their favour in order to get the win that will cement their place as title favourites:
Luck. This might be the most obvious one of the bunch, because it encompasses everything from referees (50-50 calls like giving Pepe a red card last year) to mis-tackles (the Pepe red card last year) to mental mistakes (the Pepe red card last year) to shots going centimeters wide or off the bar (Messi's last-ditch effort against Getafe springs to mind). With Madrid's tactically
violentphysical press, and Barcelona's penchant for Oscar-winning floppinglosing their balance, this game has some serious surround-the-referee-after-every-play potential. With that kind of pressure, it's going to come down to some little bit of luck that will influence the game one way or the other. Plus, both teams will be giving every second of the match their all, which will lead to emotions and nerves being at the absolute breaking point: mental mistakes, fights, all of this could lead to any number of things happening.
In a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, there's scope for any number of things to happen. This is a fixture that's never been short of controversy before, and there's no reason for that to change this time around. It's almost a reason to root against the hosts, because if Mourinho has a little bit of luck go against his side and that leads to a loss, we're going to have some hilarious post-game commentary.