Xabi Alonso (L) of Real Madrid tries to stop Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain. Real Madrid and Barcelona renew El Clasico on January 18, 2012. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Real Madrid and Barcelona renew El Clasico on Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie.
For the fourth of at least six, possibly seven and as many as eight times, Real Madrid face Barcelona in another edition of El Clasico on Wednesday evening. The two teams managed to avoid each other all the way until the final of last year's Copa del Rey, but they have been drawn together in the quarterfinals this season. Their half of the draw features all four of the top sides in La Liga, and the winner of this tie will obviously become the clear favorite to lift the trophy.
This is the first of two Copa del Rey Clasicos, with the second being played a week from Wednesday at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. This means that anything less than an outright win could spell disaster for Real Madrid. They will look to contain Barcelona and will likely be the less positive side, but they will still attack with the knowledge that they need goals in this first leg.
Pedro and David Villa are out for Barcelona, though neither was likely to start this match even if they were healthy. Real Madrid will be without Sami Khedira, while Angel di Maria is questionable for the match. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not he is healthy enough to play, and we probably won't know for sure until the teams have been named.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Copa Del Rey Quarterfinal, First Leg
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. local
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
TV: GolTV (USA and Canada), ESPN Deportes (USA - Spanish), Sky Sports 2 (UK). Can be found on Al-Jazeera across the Middle East and Setanta in most countries in Africa.