Barcelona and Real Madrid renew rivalries in Wednesday's Copa del Rey final with an eye on more than just silverware and bragging rights.
The two giants of Spanish football will be keen to seize on the opportunity to land a psychological advantage ahead of the Liga title run-in, with both currently trailing surprise leaders Atletico Madrid.
Barca and Real have already met twice in the league this term - Barca coming out on top both times - and their most recent meeting was one of the most explosive El Clasico clashes in recent years.
With seven goals, three penalties and a red card, March's contest surpassed expectations in terms of drama, but both sides would presumably settle for a more straightforward affair at the Mestalla on Wednesday.
Since seeing off Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu last month, Barca have crashed out of the UEFA Champions League thanks to defeat against Atletico, while also slipping to third in the table.
They were beaten 1-0 by Granada on Saturday and face an uphill task to retain their league crown - adding even more importance to this fixture.
Real, meanwhile, were able to shake off the defeat to Barca to move into the semi-finals of the Champions League and they remain on Atletico's heels thanks to dominant wins over Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad and Almeria in recent weeks.
Carlo Ancelotti was without star performer Cristiano Ronaldo for the latter two victories and, even if his thigh injury keeps him out again, the Real coach maintains that his squad has enough quality to secure a first Copa win since 2011.
The Italian explained to El Mundo: "Cristiano is always missed but the players aren't saying, 'Oh my God, what will we do without him?'
"They have shown confidence and they know how to win without him.
"It is also a very good opportunity for someone to take centre stage in a final."
If the likes of Angel Di Maria and Isco can help cover Ronaldo's potential absence, Real will keep their treble hopes alive in Ancelotti's debut season, while for Barca, the competition now represents their best chance of silverware this term.
Sitting four points off Atletico, the 26-time Copa winners could see another trophy chance slip away if they fail to avenge their final defeat to Real in 2011.
Barca captain Carles Puyol claims victory would offer a "solution" to their recent poor form and also leapt to the defence of under-fire coach Gerardo Martino.
"We're a team and we all accept the blame. It's always easier to attack one man (Martino) than 25 players," he said.
"If things go right or wrong, it's (down to) the team.
"We analyse things and try (to) find solutions. The solution in this case is Wednesday.
"It's an important title against our biggest rival. Hopefully we can bring some joy to our fans after two disappointing results."
In what will be the seventh Copa final between the sides, Ancelotti is able to welcome back Sergio Ramos (neck), although Marcelo (hamstring), like Ronaldo, is a doubt.
Barca skipper Puyol may be required to return from a series of knee problems sooner than anticipated due to the injuries being carried by defensive pair Gerard Pique (pelvis) and Marc Bartra (hamstring).
|Coach: G. Martino|
for Jordi Alba 46'
for Fàbregas 60'
for Bartra 86'
|Griezmann named best in LaLiga as big three share awards|
|Hargreaves puzzled by Mkhitaryan omission|
|Ballon d´Or breakdown: LaLiga, Premier League dominant amid French renaissance|
|Struggling Inter hit with Medel ban|
|Messi, Ronaldo and the full 30-man Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Suarez, Vardy complete Ballon d´Or nominations|
|Neymar joins fellow heavyweights on Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Neymar joins fellow heavyweights on Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Messi, Modric nominated for Ballon d´Or|
|Liverpool strong out of Europe, says Pochettino|
|Giroud to make Arsenal return - Wenger|
|Giggs hits out at ´laughing´ United players following Chelsea battering|
|Schmidt given two-match ban after Nagelsmann slur|
|Wenger: 82 points could win the Premier League|
|´Chelsea won´t sell to Barca or Bayern´ - Gladbach optimistic over Christensen|
|Wenger contract not a priority for Arsenal|
|Wenger says sorry for making Arsenal fans suffer|
|Sissoko charged by FA for Arter elbow|
|Liverpool not even close to 100 per cent - Klopp|
|Messi, Neymar and Suarez given three-day break by Barcelona|
|´Arsenal can compete on wages´ - Gazidis quizzed on Ozil and Sanchez|
|Ibrahimovic and Lewandowski nominated for Ballon d´Or|
|What You Might Have Missed: Benfica record, a Plea from Balo and Reto Ziegler´s better than Ronaldo|
|Montella warns AC Milan stars: Don´t let first-place prize trap you|
|Zorc ´tired of b*******´ on Tuchel, Aubameyang|
|West Ham defenders must outsmart Costa, says Ogbonna|
|We did not offer ¥1billion for Nagatomo, insist Jiangsu|
|De Bruyne, Griezmann join Ballon d´Or shortlist|
|Ronaldo isn´t anxious, insists Marcelo|
|Renato Sanches wins Golden Boy award for 2016|
|´I don´t know if I will be here on Wednesday´ – De Boer unsure on future amid sack speculation|
|Ronaldo, Bale among first nominees for Ballon d´Or|
|Wenger: Arsenal showed progress with Middlesbrough draw|
|Thiago Silva wants to extend PSG stay|
|Inaki Williams dismisses Liverpool rumours|
|Coutinho does ´amazing things´ - Matip|
|Wilshere happy to be out of Arsenal comfort zone at Bournemouth|
|Lloris is Premier League´s best goalkeeper - Dier|
|Revolution striker Kamara given yellow card for twerking|
|Klopp rubbishes ´defensive problem´ claims|
|Madrid tracking Dortmund boss Tuchel, claims Watzke|
|MLS Review: Dallas win Supporters´ Shield, Sporting KC sneak into play-offs|
|Ronaldo has ´addiction for goals´ - Morata|
|Emery refuses to point the finger at Di Maria after Marseille draw|
|Zidane vows to play Morata more often|
|Garcia hails Marseille team spirit after PSG draw|
|Neville urges calm at United after Mourinho´s horror Chelsea reunion|
|Zamalek 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 0 (1-3 agg): South Africans clinch first CAF Champions League title|
|Paris Saint-Germain 0 Marseille 0: Champions thwarted in Garcia´s first game|
|Real Madrid 2 Athletic Bilbao 1: Morata to the rescue|
|Bailly sustains knee ligament injury|
|Simeone frustrated by Atletico´s finishing|
|Conte encouraged crowd as Chelsea deserved it|
|Chelsea thrashing painful for Mata and United|
|Chelsea ´dominant from first minute to last´ - Cahill|
|Mourinho blames ´incredible defensive mistakes´ for United loss|
|N´Zonzi cools talk of title challenge|
|Chelsea 4 Manchester United 0: Rampant Blues humble returning Mourinho|
|De Boer: Inter ´played with fear´ in first half|
|Juventus confirm Dybala thigh injury|
|Guardiola vows to fix Manchester City concerns|
|Sevilla 1 Atletico Madrid 0: N´Zonzi strikes to end Simeone´s unbeaten start|
|Bayern set to open Robben, Ribery renewal talks|
|Puel satisfied with City draw|
|Rangers 0 Celtic 1: Late Dembele strike settles Old Firm semi-final|
|Croatian player teased for being ´too smart for football´|
|Redmond expected City to give up chances|
|Feyenoord 1 Ajax 1: Kuyt cancels out Dolberg opener|
|Atalanta 2 Inter 1: Late penalty heaps pressure on De Boer|
|Voller defends Schmidt over touchline dismissal|
|Injured Rooney left out of United squad for Chelsea trip|
|Manchester City 1 Southampton 1: Guardiola´s men back on top but winless run continues|
|Guangzhou Evergrande clinch record sixth straight Super League title|
|´Icon´ Rooney not finished at United - Pereira|
|Zubizarreta-Garcia meeting confirmed by Marseille president|
|Aspas-inspired Celta thrash Deportivo in Galician derby|
|Lorient dismiss coach Ripoll|
|Ronaldo´s impact on football is myth-like - Perez|
|United not distracted by Mourinho´s Chelsea return - Young|
|A-League Review: 20,000th goal helps Newcastle Jets to shock comeback|
|Cech laments Arsenal´s lack of composure|
|Qatar World Cup worker dies at stadium site|
|Galliani wanted Montella at Milan in 2014|
|Mourinho hopes never to return to Chelsea|
|Barzagli angry with AC Milan defeat|
|Iniesta admits ´it could have been worse´ after Barcelona confirm 6-8 week absence|
|Mourinho: I´ll never sell Rooney|
|Ancelotti admits to bowing to Ronaldo demands|
|Ancelotti doubts Conte´s Chelsea can win Premier League|
|Romagnoli happy at Milan amid Chelsea links|
|City must not change their style - Gundogan|
|Conte wants to emulate Mourinho|
|Montella: Rising Milan must handle new expectations|
|Rummenigge dispels Alaba-Manchester City reports|
|Success the key to building connection with fans - Mourinho|
|Gundogan hails ´amazing´ duo Guardiola and Klopp|
|AC Milan players influenced ref for disallowed goal, fumes Allegri|
|Allardyce incident a tragedy, says FA chief executive Glenn|
|Locatelli can´t comprehend beating Buffon|