Real Madrid meets Atletico Madrid in a La Liga match at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday 25 February 2023 (25/02/23).
Fans can watch the game for free via a trial version of fuboTV or DirecTV Stream.
Here’s what you need to know:
WHO: Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid
If: Saturday 25 February 2023
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Santiago Bernabeu
TV: ESPN deported
Channel finder: Verizon Fios, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimal/Altice, cox, DIRECTTV,Court,Hello, fuboTV, loop.
Live broadcast: fuboTV (free trial), DirecTV Stream (free trial)
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – With their Champions League hopes all but dashed, Barcelona know the Spanish league title has become a must to justify the club’s massive financial risk.
Barcelona, who next play Real Madrid in the ‘Clásico’ on Sunday, will need a small miracle to avoid being eliminated from the group stage of the Champions League for the second straight year, having won just one of their four games so far. A 3-3 home draw with Inter Milan on Wednesday left them on the verge of another unwanted Europa League ticket.
That wasn’t in the plans as Barcelona mortgaged their future by selling part of their TV rights and other assets to be able to invest in new players. Club president Joan Laporta argued that leading the team back to winning major titles and overcoming the painful departure of Lionel Messi was worth the risk.
Barcelona’s faint Champions League hopes depend on winning their two remaining group games and failing to take Inter three points against Viktoria Pilsen and group winners Bayern Munich.
At least Robert Lewandowski has proven to be worth his money. The 34-year-old Polish striker has scored 14 goals in 12 games in all competitions since leaving Bayern; he leads the Spanish league with eight goals; and he shares the Champions League lead with Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah with five goals each. Lewandowski’s two goals against Inter this week saved Barcelona from defeat.
“After a bad game you have to face reality as best you can, show that you can play well and win,” said Lewandowski before his first “Clásico” against Real Madrid on DAZN television. “It’s a tough moment but we know that in ‘Clásico’ we have a chance to go out there and win the game.”
The opposing sides are tied at the top of the table, with Barcelona ahead on goal difference after both have recorded seven wins and one draw.
Laporta said on Friday it would cost the already heavily indebted club 25 to 35 million euros ($24 to 34 million) in projected revenue if they failed to advance to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
“We need to change our focus,” Laporta said. “We have to remember that the team is still growing together. Our goal was clear from the start of the season: to win the (Spanish) championship. In the Champions League we wanted to get out of the group stage and see how far we can go, but it’s not going well.”
Barcelona have been hit hard by injuries, particularly in defence, having recently lost defenders Ronald Araújo, Jules Koundé, Andreas Christensen and Héctor Bellerín.
That left Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez with just Éric García and veteran Gerard Pique at center-back against Inter. Pique, a regular before this season, was booed on Wednesday after ejecting a ball that resulted in a goal for Inter.
The only good news is that Koundé, who can play at both right-back and centre-back, was back in training with his team-mates on Thursday.
Barcelona’s defense must contend with a Madrid attack led by Karim Benzema and the speedy Vinícius Júnior, who leads his team with seven goals. Benzema, Rodrygo and Federico Valverde have each scored four goals.
The only regular Carlo Ancelotti is likely to be without is injured goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, meaning Andriy Lunin will play in goal.
Madrid are unbeaten in a total of 13 games this season and are looking to defend both their European and Spanish titles.
The game will also feature Barcelona’s eye-catching shirts featuring singer Drake’s owl logo.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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Ryan Novozinsky can be reached at [email protected].