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FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will play the fifth clásico of the season on Wednesday 5 April. The two teams will face each other in what will be the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

The first leg was decided in favour of the Blaugrana with a 1-0 result. However, there was no clear dominance during the match. Both teams had stretches of good play, and at the same time, they were conditioned by their opponents.

Having contextualised the analysis, at MBP School of Coaches. we are going to highlight the three key pre-match tactical points that we believe will determine the outcome of the match between the two teams.



 Unlike in previous years, where both teams had a fixed and immovable structure, this season, both teams have shown themselves to be more flexible in terms of the positioning they adopt on the pitch.

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid start most matches with a GK-4-3-3 as their base structure. However, both have been ‘playing’ with a dynamic organisation depending on the phase and moment of the game.

A clear reflection of this structural variability was the defensive approach that Xavi Hernández’s side adopted in the first leg at the Bernabéu. Constrained by injuries, the Blaugranas played a low defensive block in a GK-4-4-2 formation.

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With this tactical approach, Barca rarely suffered. Los Blancos took a total of 13 shots, but not a single one was on target thanks to Culé’s good defensive work.

For this, Barca gave a master class in the execution of the universal fundamental of zone 1 ‘defending individually in risk areas’. Thanks to this, the Blaugrana defence imposed itself on the Madridista attack, denying them any chance of shooting in a situation of spatial or positional advantage.

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On the other hand, Ancelotti’s side have also been using different structures throughout the season. One of the most used has been the GK-4-4-2 when Fede Valverde has been used as a winger.

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However, in the last league game against Valladolid, Los Blancos used a GK-4-2-3-1 formation with Rodrygo as an attacking midfielder behind the striker. Despite the difference in level between the two teams, the tactical experiment by the Italian coach worked really well.

Therefore, it would not be surprising if ‘Carletto’ made use of it in the match against FC Barcelona. With the use of three attacking midfielders plus the figure of the nine as the reference, the Italian could use players with a more attacking profile than Valverde or Ceballos.

Likewise, Rodrygo’s performance as a second striker has always been positive. In addition to his brilliant individual quality, the No.21 helps to enhance the performance of the players around him thanks to his socio-affective structure.

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In contrast to Vinicius, one of his teammates in the attack, his behaviour is much more collective. The Brazilian looks to generate situations of numerical and positional superiority through link-ups. For this reason, his performance as No.10 has always been positive, as the demands of the position match the player’s behaviour.


Another key factor that could determine the final outcome of the tie will be to see who can break up their opponents’ defence-attacking transitions.

As was seen in the first leg, a quick attacking transition by the Blaugranas allowed Xavi Hernandez’s side to take the lead.

Although both coaches have sought to minimise the number of defensive errors with the addition of a box-to-box midfielder in their starting eleven, both sides have shown a tendency to be weak in this phase of the game.

One factor at the root of the common mistake is the lack of players in the intervention zone during the attacking phase. Putting individual quality above collective quality, and not having a large number of players in areas close to the ball, is leading to both teams becoming stretched in the moments of turnovers. For this reason, they are unable to apply optimal pressure after losing the ball, or to retreat quickly as they are organisationally unstructured.

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Therefore, once the ball is lost, the team in possession of the ball has favourable spaces to be able to move successfully towards the opponent’s goal.

Consequently, the team that is more compact during the organisational phases, irrespective of the game idea to be implemented, will be able to perform better once they have to make the transition from attack to defence.


Finally, another key factor that could determine who will be the future finalist of the competition will be to see which striker is more clinical in front of goal.

In the previous match between the two sides, the two No9s were not in their best form, nor were they at their best in terms of finishing in front of goal. The current performances of the two teams have been different.

Both Lewandowski and Benzema seem to have found the optimum level of form. Thanks to this, both players are having a greater impact on their teams. Not only statistically in terms of goals and assists, but also in terms of aspects of their play.

The Pole has once again been decisive in attack, again finding the opposition goal with ease. Similarly, the Frenchman has increased the number of participations outside of the finishing area, thus helping Los Blancos attack in the moments of progression and final 3rd.

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** Image 9: Lewandoswki: blue / Benzema: green.

 However, the success of both teams in attack will not depend exclusively on Lewandoswki and Benzema. Players like Raphinha, Gavi, Vinicius, or Rodrygo will have to perform at a very high level to help their teams achieve their objectives.


This last clásico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will have a special significance above all the others played so far. Whoever wins will be just one game away from lifting the first major title of the season.

In addition, the psychological impact that a victory would have on the opponent could condition the future performances for the remainder of the season.

A Blaugrana victory would leave Los Blancos with only the option of winning the Champions League this season. On the other hand, a win for Ancelotti’s side could affect Xavi Hernández’s side’s league performance and cast doubt on a team that has shown significant improvement post Qatar 2022 World Cup.

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