Another installment of El Classico will take place this week as Barcelona and Real Madrid do battle—this time for a spot in the 2013 Copa del Rey final.
The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in the opening leg at the Bernabeu Stadium, with Raphael Varane proving the savior for Madrid on the night. However, Barca still took a crucial away-goal lead from that fixture into this one, and will enter the night as favorites to progress through to the final.
Having said that, Madrid possess a very good record in playing at the Nou Camp and will certainly be no easy-beats here for the current La Liga leaders.
We're no doubt set for a fantastic match full of twists and turns that will leave us stunned at whatever we see unfold.
What could transpire between these two teams in this El Classico? Read on for some bold predictions on what could be set to take place at the Nou Camp this week.
Barca Concede the Opening Goal
Let's start off with one that perhaps isn't that ridiculous to consider, and that's Barcelona conceding the opening goal of the match.
La Blaugrana have conceded the opening goal in four of their past five matches across various competitions, and against some teams with far less attacking creativity and skill than that which their opponents will possess in this match.
Barca have held just two clean sheets against Spanish opposition since Nov. 3, and have shown great susceptibility at the back all season.
Madrid have scored first in seven of the past 10 meetings between the two clubs, and will no doubt be just as effective against Barcelona in this one also.
Real Madrid Have Most of the Chances
Playing at home with the away goal advantage in hand, Barcelona would largely be expected to dominate this affair as they have done all year.
The Spanish league leaders have lost just one league match all year and have netted a staggering 82 goals in La Liga alone this season—making them an obvious selection here to be considered the favorites to dominate this match.
Yet Madrid are certainly not to be counted out, and as shown in their match at the Nou Camp earlier in the year, can certainly challenge the home side's attack.
Barca have only won one of the past four El Classico's at the Nou Camp, making their supposed home-ground advantage perhaps not effective here.
The reigning Spanish champions are bringing back a number of key players for this fixture, which will no doubt boost their side dramatically (per Yahoo! Sports). If that happens and those players click, Madrid could well be looking for a plethora of chances in this one.
Diego Lopez Concedes a Penalty
Why not a penalty? Who doesn't love a penalty?
Both Barca and Real Madrid have had penalty decisions go for and against them this year, with the two clubs netting four goals and five goals from the spot.
Neither club has missed either in 2012-13 domestically, which makes this prediction a particularly interesting one given the impact it could have on the match.
Diego Lopez has already conceded two penalties this year. Will he make it three with a clip on perhaps a streaking Lionel Messi or Alexis Sanchez?
Real Madrid Hang on for a 2-2 Draw
The thing that has become most clear in El Classicos is that goals should be expected to occur—it's always happened over the past few matches.
With Barca holding an away goal lead but the aggregate tied at 1-1, this one could come down to the away goal rule that Real Madrid could hold in their advantage here—providing that this match has plenty of goals in it as per usual.
With Barca falling behind early, I'd say that quick goals after halftime give the visitors a 2-1 lead in the match, and thus a big lead overall in the tie. The Catalan club would need to score two goals to then take the lead in the tie, and while they'll be good for one of those two, a frantic final few minutes will allow the visitors to hang on here for the win.
I say 2-2 on the night, with Real progressing through to the final.
What are your bold predictions for this Copa del Rey El Classico?
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