El Clasico: Expect Real Madrid and Barcelona to fill the net

Real Madrid looked poised to sweep Barcelona away in La Liga after beating them so comprehensively in the Spanish Super Cup in August yet by the end of Saturday's "Clasico" they could be a remarkable 14 points behind their bitter rivals.

So what happened? The obvious observation is that two key Barcelona players, who had been kept quiet in the first half, were able to take over: Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, stay fourth in the table now with 31 points from 15 games.

Counting against Bale is a recent change of formation, with Zidane largely abandoning the 4-3-3 formation in which the Welshman lined up alongside Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.

The visitors were uncharacteristically sloppy and cautious in possession, although as the game progressed Messi began to have an influence, setting up two chances for Paulinho, who drew two excellent saves from Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insists a "guard of honour" would never be contemplated before today's clash at Real Madrid.

The La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be played at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid.

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Captain and tiki-taka symbol Andres Iniesta could be seen gesturing anxiously at his teammates to get them to hold the ball longer and start to play.

But in the same way that they lost their way in the second period at the Bernabeu this weekend, Los Blancos have also lost their way in general this season and Zidane appears to be unable to do anything about it.

"In a match like that, when it's so physical, it's most hard at the start".

He and Messi both have four Champions League titles, but Messi's eight Spanish league titles double Ronaldo's tally for Madrid and Manchester United.

Morientes won the Champions League three times with Madrid, including Zidane.

With kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. local time, a match normally lit from surrounding darkness will this time depend on daylight.

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