Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Tito eyes first title as Barça Manager
Barça will face off against Real Madrid on Wednesday evening (22.30 CET) as the Catalans look to claim their first title under Tito Vilanova. FC Barcelona come into the match against Real Madrid with a 3-2 advantage from the away leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Any result from the last Real Madrid v. Barça matches at the Bernabéu (five victories and two draws) would be enough for FC Barcelona to claim the title. Tito Vilanova may have to rule out Carles Puyol, who sustained a cheekbone fracture in this weekend’s game against Osasuna, even though the captain travelled with the team to Madrid.
Barcelona (FCB).- Three months after winning the Copa del Rey against Athletic Club, Barça return to Madrid in search of another title. The 2012 Spanish Super Cup is up for grabs and Tito Vilanova\u2019s men come into the match with a 3-2 advantage from last week\u2019s away leg at the Camp Nou. Tonight\u2019s Clásico against Real Madrid will take place at the Santiago Bernabéu, a stadium that\u2019s been kind to the Catalans - in terms of results- over recent years, and Tito Vilanova could claim his first title as FC Barcelona\u2019s Head Manager.
Recent history on Barça\u2019s side
The Barça players know that winning the Spanish Super Cup will have little effect on the rest of the season, but the Azulgranas know that beating Real Madrid in the first official competition of the year would be an important morale booster. Over the past four years, FC Barcelona have secured fantastic results at the Santiago Bernabéu, starting with the 2 to 6 in the 2008/09 season and ending with last season\u2019s 1 to 2 in the quarter-finals of the 2011/12 Copa del Rey. In total, FC Barcelona have won five games and drawn twice in their last seven visits to Real Madrid\u2019s grounds. In fact, any of Barça\u2019s last seven results at the Bernabéu would be enough to claim the FC Barcelona\u2019s fourth consecutive Spanish Super Cup trophy.
It\u2019s also worth noting that Barça have played the return leg of the Spanish Super Cup four times at the Bernabéu and were unsuccessful in their Spanish Super Cup bid every time (1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997).
The captain never fails
On Monday, Gerard Piqué said that \u201Cknowing \u2018Puyi,\u2019 he\u2019ll be able to play on Wednesday without any problems. If he can play, he\u2019ll be there.\u201D Barça captain, Carles Puyol, despite his broken cheekbone, doesn\u2019t want to miss the chance to lift the first title of the Vilanova era and he\u2019s told his manager that he\u2019s ready to play at the Bernabéu. Messi, who is on excellent goalscoring form, also doesn\u2019t want to miss tonight\u2019s match. The Argentine has score five goals in the first three official matches of the season (4 in La Liga and 1 in the Spanish Super Cup) and tonight he\u2019ll face off against one of his favourite victims (he has 14 career goals against Real Madrid).
Five-point advantage in the Spanish League as a backdrop
While Barça have a 100% start in its first three official games of the season, Real Madrid come into the return leg of the Spanish Super Cup with two defeats (Getafe and Barça) and one draw (Valencia). The defeat to Getafe in the Spanish League this weekend, in addition to the draw with Valencia in the first match of the domestic competition, leave Jose Mourinho\u2019s men five points behind Barça, who currently sit atop the standings. In any case, Tito Vilanova and his men don\u2019t place too much importance on Real Madrid\u2019s slow start.
Pepe, who missed the away game, is back in Mourinho\u2019s team after he successfully recovered from a terrible collision with Iker Casillas in the first match of the season. Real Madrid could also field Luka Modric, who signed a five-year contract with the All-Whites on Monday.