Barcelona visit Real Madrid in Sunday's (Monday AEST) El Clasico desperate for a victory that would keep the pressure on the La Liga leaders.
Source:
AAP
20 Apr 2017 - 9:38 PM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2017 - 9:38 PM

After sealing their place in the Champions League semi-finals, Real Madrid can take a huge step towards claiming a first La Liga title in five years when they host great rivals Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday (Monday AEST).

Real are three points clear at the top of the table - with a game in hand against mid-table Celta Vigo - and victory at home would leave Barca trailing by six points with only five rounds to play.

Zinedine Zidane's Real are unbeaten since February, winning 10 of their last 12 games. In contrast, Barcelona have won just two of their previous five in all competitions and were dumped out of Europe.

The Catalans' task is made all the more difficult given forward Neymar's suspension. However, Barca coach Luis Enrique insisted after their 3-0 aggregate defeat by Juventus that his side would be ready to bounce straight back.

"It will be difficult to lift my players up after this, but it will be easy to motivate them," Enrique said.

"We have the best stimulus that any Barcelona fan could ask for which is that we play against our eternal rival. There's no better place to go than the Bernabeu.

"We have the chance to get back in the fight for La Liga in a six-pointer against the side top of the league. I love being involved at a club as ambitious as this."

Real will be looking to a rejuvenated Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored five goals in his last two appearances and netted his 100th Champions League goal with a hat-trick against Bayern Munich.

"I don't know if there's a category for him. What you see Cristiano doing is really impressive," Zidane said.

"The goals, the way he finishes them, in such key, important moments.

"He always knows when there's an important occasion, he's going to be there. It is out of any sort of category.

"There are few players who can to do what Ronaldo has done and we all know that."

Los Blancos will be without defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane for the game, while Dani Carvajal, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale all have question marks over their fitness heading in to the game.