The Santiago Bernabeu will hold the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Both sides met in last season's final, which many regard as the best in the championship's history and was won by the Whites. Real have won all their home Copa encounters of the last 38 months, defeating Real Union, Alcorcon, Murcia, Levante, Atletico, Sevilla, Ponferradina and Malaga. Their supporters will pack the stadium hoping to help them win the fixture with the great unity that exists between them and the team.
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Real Madrid have had a good start to 2012, being the only side in Spain to win all four games played so far in January and enlarging their lead over Barcelona on the league table to five points. They've scored in all of their 14 home games this season, but, more impressively, they've earned victories in all their local Copa clashes in the last three years with a 31 goal tally (close to four per encounter).
Following this morning's training session at the Bernabeu, Jose Mourinho has included all of his men on his squad list, plus Castilla goalkeeper Tomas Mejias. The injured Khedira and Arbeloa (who is suspended) have also made the cut. Barcelona's Villa, Pedro, Afellay and Fontas are injured for the match and Keita is currently with Mali for the Africa Cup. Maxwell recently left the team to join PSG.
Barcelona reached the quarterfinals after defeating Hospitalet and Osasuna in the previous rounds. They earned comfortable wins at their stadium but had more trouble on the road, defeating Hospitalet 1-0 in their first game of the tournament and being forced to turn the score around at the Reyno de Navarra to eventually snatch a 2-1 victory.