Two of the world's most dominant football clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, will face off in a pivotal second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain.
Real has struggled mightily in its first three matches of the 2012-13 season and is still without a win. They've drawn once and lost twice.
Madrid's first loss of the campaign came at Camp Nou last week, when it was defeated 3-2 at the hands of rival Barca in the first leg of the Super Cup.
Here, we preview Wednesday's vital second leg from Bernabeu.
When: Wednesday, August 29
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Start Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Live Streaming: ESPN3.com.
What's At Stake?
Barcelona have won the Spanish Super Cup the last three seasons, defeating Real Madrid in 2011.
On the other side, Real has not won the Super Cup since 2008, and it trails Barca in titles 10-8 all-time.
Wednesday's second leg will serve as the final chance for Real Madrid to avenge last year's Super Cup defeat and regain bragging rights.
Players to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
The Portuguese star is one of the greatest goal scorers in the game today, and he netted one in Real's 3-2 loss to Barca last week on the road. Ronaldo will need more than two shots on Wednesday, however, if he is going to score for a desperate Madrid club.
Ronaldo scored 46 goals in Spanish La Liga play last season, second only to Barca's Lionel Messi.
Like Messi, though, the attention Ronaldo demands in the final third opens up opportunities for other players. Perhaps the recently acquired Luka Modric will suit up for Real for the first time and benefit from Ronaldo's presence on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona
Messi is arguably the greatest player on the planet right now, and he was incredibly active in the first leg against Real Madrid. Messi scored a goal and tallied five shots by the end of the match.
The Argentine star has five goals in three matches this season and is certainly on pace to score on Wednesday. Barca will need Messi's best performance again, though, as they are on the road in a hostile environment.
Although they won the first leg 3-2, anything can happen in Bernabeu, where Real will be more focused and rejuvenated playing at home.
Based on the two squads' starts this season, I like Barcelona in this game. Their defense will be just good enough to get by once again against Real, and Messi should do the rest. The three-time defending Spanish Super Cup champions will make it four in a row on Wednesday with a big win in Madrid.
Barcelona 2, Real Madrid 1
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