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Iniesta, Carvalho, Khedira out for Barca-Madrid Champions League clash

Iniesta (Reuters Pictures)

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid will have to do some lineup shuffling ahead of today's UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg (2:45 p.m., FX) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona, which received word on Tuesday that Carles Puyol would be available, will be without midfield maestro Andres Iniesta, who has a calf strain. Possible replacements for him in the starting XI include Ibrahim Afellay and Spain youth international Thiago Alcantara.

Real Madrid will be without suspended center back Ricardo Carvalho and midfielder Sami Khedira, who is nursing a thigh injury. Lassana Diarra is expected to step in for Khedira.

Which team has the edge considering, form, recent results and injuries? What's your prediction for the first leg?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. 3-0 Madrid. Any psychological advantage Barca used to have has been demolished and I don’t think Pep’s ravings have inspired much confidence. Puyol won’t go 90 and maybe doesn’t get out of the first half.

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  2. The Iniesta blow is pretty huge. Affelay is a very good player, but part of what makes Barcelona tick is the unspoken, unseen connection between Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. Regardless, it should be a great game. I don’t expect Real to park the bus until the second leg; remember that Inter won in the San Siro last season 3-1 under Mourihno before closing shop in the second leg. It’s too important to win at home, particularly against Barca. You have no chance if you go into Camp Nou without the lead.

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  3. i would normally agree, but Lass is in really good form and should replace Khedira well. For Carvalho, Ramos will move into his spot and Arbeloa will fill in on the wing. I think they’ll be ok.

    Without Iniesta, it could be hard to be a different team. We’ll find out soon!

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  4. Expect Jose to park the bus. Having watched the last 2 classicos, I’m skipping these. I expect a lot of pessimistic, err professional fouling and lots of drama, but only one team will be playing soccer. I bet the number of goals scored in this game will be 1, and I would bet the under

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  5. I think we will see a completely different Barcelona team. The Champions League is much different than the Copa.

    Iniesta is not as big a hit as Carvalho AND Khedira. Affelay is a more than capable replacement, but Madrid lost a large chunk of their defensive presence.

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  6. In light of the Copa Del Ray final, I’d say Real Madrid are favored in the first leg, particularly as they’re playing at the BernabĂ©u. Barcelona without Iniesta is a huge blow. They will do well if they can keep the score line to a goal difference. I predict another 1-0 victory for Madrid with the possibility of a 1-1 draw.

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