Real Madrid vs Barcelona predictions: Real can snatch first leg lead over Barca
- Real Madrid are unbeaten in six in all competitions
- Barcelona have lost their last two away games
- Recommended bet: Half Time / Full Time - Tie / Real Madrid
It is always a special occasion when Real Madrid and Barcelona go head-to-head and this time it is a Copa Del Rey semi-final encounter.
The Bernabeu is the venue for the first leg on Thursday evening, which is the 252nd competitive meeting between the two sides.
Barcelona have had the upper hand in recent times, with the Catalan giants winning three of their last four, including a 3-1 win over their El Clasico rivals in their most recent clash in the Spanish Super Cup.
Although it is Barca that lead the way in La Liga, it is Real Madrid that come into this clash on a better run of form, with Carlo Ancelotti's men unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions.
Real Madrid have been handed a significant boost with the news that Rodrygo could feature from the bench on Thursday night.
The Brazilian missed the weekend's Madrid derby against Atletico due to a thigh problem but should be fit to take his place in the Real squad.
Ancelotti is again without injured defenders Ferland Mendy and David Alaba, with Nacho expected to continue at left back.
Barcelona will be without three key players for the trip to the Spanish capital, with Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Pedri all set to miss out.
Ferran Torres is likely to start up front for the visitors, while Franck Kessie could replace Pedri in the middle of the park.
Real Madrid look to be rediscovering their form at a good time, as they continue to fight for silverware in the Copa Del Rey, La Liga and Champions League.
You have to go back to April 2022 for the last time Ancelotti's men lost a competitive match on home soil and the goals have been flowing in recent weeks.
Real have found the net 17 times in the last five matches, with no fewer than seven different players getting themselves on the scoresheet.
In contrast, Barcelona have seen the goals dry up in recent weeks, with Xavi's men bagging just six times in their last five games in all competitions.
There are also some concerns on the road, with Barca having scored more than one goal in just one of their last five away games.
There have been three or more goals scored in seven of the last eight El Clasico meetings, with both teams always putting the emphasis on attacking.
It is also worth noting that 10 of Real Madrid's last 17 goals have been scored in the second half, while eight of the last 15 El Clasico goals have come after half-time.
Ancelotti will feel his team will need an advantage going into the second leg at the Nou Camp on April 5, and this could represent the perfect opportunity.
Without Dembele's pace, Lewandowski's finishing and Pedri's guile, Barcelona look a lot weaker than they did at the turn of the year.
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