(CNN) -- Arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid meet for the sixth time this season Saturday in an El Clasico clash which is likely to decide the destination of the Spanish title.
Reigning champions Barcelona will have home advantage at their Camp Nou stadium, but trail Real by four points with only five games remaining.
A draw would leave Los Blancos in pole position to reclaim the La Liga crown after four years but assistant coach Aitor Karanka said they would approach the heavyweight clash in positive fashion.
"We will play the same way we did in our last three games at the Camp Nou. We did everything in our power in three different championships and gave good performances," he told the official Real Madrid website.
Karanka, once again fronting up to the media in the absence of his boss Jose Mourinho, said that whatever the outcome his team were still in good position for ultimate success in the championship race.
"I believe the three points at stake are important because there fewer games left in the competition. Whatever the score, four games will remain and we'll continue to work as naturally as we've been doing so far. Win, draw or lose, this team is doing a very good job this year and we will keep it up." he added.
Barcelona have cut into Real's lead, which stood at 10 points just over a month ago, with draws against Malaga, Villarreal and Valencia holding up the pacesetters.
By contrast, Pep Guardiola's Barcelona have mounted a late charge with 11 straight La Liga wins with Lionel Messi in free scoring form with 18 goals in that run. It has taken his personal tally to the season to a remarkable 63 in all competitions.
Fellow superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has also maintained his scoring streak for Real, 53 for the season and tied with Messi in the battle for the 'Pichichi' trophy awarded to top striker in La Liga. Both have 41.
It's no wonder Guardiola believes the battle between the two might well decide the outcome of Saturday's showdown.
"Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo feed off each other, they are apart from everyone else. We're lucky to be afforded the chance to enjoy some great football players. They are decisive players. They score when the team is playing well or when the team is playing poorly," he told reporters.
Unusually, both teams go into the frenetic atmosphere of an El Clasico clash off the back of rare defeats.
Real lost 2-1 Tuesday at Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal, while Barcelona suffered a 1-0 reverse at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium 24 hours later.
They will be favorites to turn around the ties in their home legs to set up the possibility of a seventh El Clasico of the season in the final at Bayern's Allianz Arena next month.
Keir Radnedge, the executive editor of World Soccer, told CNN that neither side was likely to be affected by the setbacks.
"The extra day's rest might be important (for Real) but there were no serious injuries for either side and after all they both just lost by one goal," he said.
For now the focus will be on the league clash and the odds are against Mourinho, despite his incredible managerial record in four countries.
Since taking charge at the Bernabeu in the summer of 2010 his team has only beaten Barcelona once in 10 attempts, the final of the Copa Del Rey last season with Ronaldo scoring the winner in extra time.
Radnedge believes Mourinho will be making La Liga success for his team a priority, even over the Champions League crown.
"La Liga very definitely," he said. "They want to get past this jinx and I would imagine if Mourinho achieved that he could move on to his next challenge," he said.
But his side will have to buck the form book. This season their Catalan rivals have beaten them over two legs in the Spanish Super Cup and the quarterfinal of the Copa Del Rey, again over two legs.
A 3-1 league win for Barcelona in December in the Bernabeu may also be a pointer.
Midfield star Xavi scored in that win and will be making a record 32nd El Clasico appearance should he get on the pitch on Saturday night.