Top five reasons not to miss derby between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona
This is a Barcelona Derby in which Barça could be crowned champions, while RCD Espanyol are battling to avoid relegation.
While the Barcelona Derby is always worth tuning in to, this Sunday’s clash between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona is especially interesting for several reasons. This could be the weekend when Xavi Hernández’s side are mathematically proclaimed 2022-23 LaLiga Santander champions, while it is also one of the last chances for Luis García’s outfit to collect the points they need to escape the relegation zone before the season’s end. With stars like Marc-André ter Stegen, Joselu, Robert Lewandowski and Sergi Darder all involved, spectacle and excitement are guaranteed.
5 FC Barcelona could be crowned champions
After 33 rounds in which they have consistently picked up points, FC Barcelona enters Matchday 34 of the LaLiga Santander season so close to securing the prize they’ve been working towards. Los Azulgranas could mathematically be crowned champions at the RCDE Stadium in this rivalry game that is always circled in red at the start of the season. Boasting a 13-point lead over Atlético de Madrid and a 14-point gap to Real Madrid, it would be enough for them to finish the round with 12 points more than Los Rojiblancos and 13 more than Los Blancos.
4 RCD Espanyol are at the heart of the relegation battle
At the other end of the table, RCD Espanyol starts Matchday 34 of this LaLiga Santander campaign in second-to-last position and three points from safety. With only 12 points still up for grabs after this weekend’s match, Luis García’s side needs to make the most of all of their remaining opportunities to add to their points tally. After the match against FC Barcelona, Los Blanquiazules will only have four more fixtures, against Rayo Vallecano (away), Atlético de Madrid (home), Valencia CF (away) and UD Almería (home).
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3 The race for the Pichichi
While the destination of the LaLiga Santander trophy looks quite clear with five games to go, the prize for the top scorer is much tighter. Robert Lewandowski, who leads the way with 19 goals, is closely followed by Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema with 17 goals. Meanwhile, Getafe CF’s Enes Ünal and RCD Espanyol’s Joselu, who will face off against FC Barcelona’s Polish striker this matchday, are also in the hunt with 14 goals each. This is a prestigious award and it seems there will still be a fight until the end of the season.
2 The search for a first derby victory in Cornellà
The RCDE Stadium has yet to celebrate a home derby victory over FC Barcelona in league play. Los Blanquiazules’ last one came in the 2006/07 season when they were still playing at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, which will be FC Barcelona’s home from next season due to work on their stadium. In that match, the team then coached by Ernesto Valverde defeated Frank Rijkaard’s side 3-1 with goals from Raúl Tamudo, Francisco Rufete and Luis García, now the RCD Espanyol coach.
1 Ter Stegen is chasing a goals-conceded record
FC Barcelona’s German goalkeeper has had a historic season. With just 11 goals conceded in 33 games, he is on course to beat the all-time record for a goalkeeper in LaLiga Santander, an achievement shared by Jan Oblak of Atlético de Madrid in 2015/16 and Paco Liaño of Deportivo de la Coruña in 1993/94.
Both conceded 18 goals in 38 games those years, an average of 0.47 goals per game that Ter Stegen is threatening to smash. At the moment his average is 0.33 goals conceded per game and he has five matches to go as he aims to beat that figure.
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