Sunday sees Xavi and Diego Simeone go head-to-head in La Liga at the Spotify Camp Nou during Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid.
There has been no shortage of absurdity in La Liga this season. Barcelona lead the league by 11 points but their shortcomings were revealed in Europe – they were dumped out of the Champions League group stage and the Europa League pre-last 16 with little fuss. Atlético Madrid have arguably been the best team in the league since the turn of the year but sit so far behind the league leaders that a late surge up the table is practically impossible.
Real Madrid are sandwiched between the two in second and have looked mediocre all season. Yet they find themselves in another Champions League semi-final having beaten Liverpool and Chelsea in the knockout stages to get there. They look as strong as ever in Europe.
This game might not go a long way in deciding the standings at the end of the season, but it could help us crack the code of this season's La Liga and to understand which direction both these teams are travelling in.
Diego Simeone has consistently struggled in this fixture. He has managed more games at Camp Nou without a win as Atlético Madrid manager than at any other venue (15).
Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández has won both of his La Liga games against Atlético de Madrid, 4-2 in February 2022 and 1-0 in January 2023, and can become only the second coach in Barcelona's history to win his first three games against them in the competition after Luis Enrique (the first four between 2015 and 2016).
Barcelona have welcomed Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele back to training after muscle injuries but it is unclear if they will make it in time for Sunday afternoon's showdown. Atlético are still missing Memphis Depay and will also be without Marcos Llorente and Geoggrey Kondogbia due to suspension.
Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele are all closing in on returns to the Barça squad, but only De Jong has a major chance of featuring this week.
Andreas Christensen remains out, so Ronald Araujo may partner Eric Garcia in defence, while Sergi Roberto is facing a battle to be fit again this season after picking up a hamstring problem against Getafe.
Reinildo won't play again this season due to a cruciate ligament injury, while Memphis Depay is a doubt to face his former club.
Midfielders Geoffrey Kondogbia and Marcos Llorente are suspended – both picked up their fifth league bookings of the season last time out against Almeria.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Garcia, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati.
Atletico Madrid (3-5-2): Oblak; Hermoso, Savic, Gimenez; Molina, De Paul, Barrios, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann, Morata.
Stegen; Kounde,Araujo, Gimenez; Molina, De Paul,Gavi, Raphinha, Lewandowski,Griezmann, Morata.