The Catalans have the chance to inflict more misery on Real Madrid by effectively knocking them out of the title race.
Barcelona inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the midweek Copa del Rey Clasico to come away 4-1 victors on aggregate. It was an odd game in that Real arguably played better, but Barca were efficient with their chances and held off the opposition more effectively as the match went on due to their energy levels dropping.
The gap currently stands at nine points between the two teams with Atletico sandwiched in between, so Real desperately need a win to stay relevant in the league as there are only 13 games left. Their inconsistency this season means they have averaged less than two points per game in the league and, therefore, they are unlikely to overcome the large gap.
Even though this is one of the most hotly anticipated clashes of the season for both teams due to the nature of the rivalry, Ernesto Valverde has to consider rotation as there are more important matches coming up, such as Lyon in less than two weeks, so key players need to be kept fresh.