MADRID (AP) – While Barcelona worries that a lack of preseason training could hinder its chances in the Spanish Supercup, opponent Real Madrid eyed the season's first chance at silverware as the warmup act in a season-long task to upstage its closest rival.
The Spanish giants renew their explosive rivalry come Sunday's first-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu where Copa del Rey winner Madrid welcomes domestic league champion Barcelona.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has yet to lose a match at the Bernabeu since taking charge in 2008, winning three of four there. Madrid has never lost in four Supercup meetings with Barcelona.
While Barcelona's entire squad will travel to the Spanish capital, Guardiola did not reveal whether Xavi Hernandez, who has a leg injury, Gerard Pique (leg) or Sergio Busquets (rib) would be available. Xavi and Pique trained normally on Saturday while defender Carles Puyol is expected to miss out as he recovers from knee surgery.
''We've been together so little to start this season so I prefer for all of them to come,'' Guardiola said on Saturday. ''We're not in great physical shape and we haven't had as much preparation as we like but we have to go to Madrid and hope to play a good game.''
International commitments have kept Barcelona's complete squad from training together until this week.
New signing Alexis Sanchez has had little time with the team but the Chile forward will make his debut at the Bernabeu after his ?26 million ($37 million) transfer from Udinese last month. Sanchez provides another attacking option to a lineup that already includes Lionel Messi, David Villa, Pedro Rodriguez and Andres Iniesta.
''He's in good shape,'' Guardiola said. ''But everyone needs time to adapt so we'll see tomorrow if he plays a little bit or from the start.''
Barcelona's and Madrid's rivalry has always been intense but the arrival of coach Jose Mourinho at Madrid upped the bitterness.
Mourinho was given a five-match sanction for claiming Barcelona received preferential treatment from referees and UEFA during the Champions League semifinal last season, which Barcelona went on to win.
Mourinho, speaking in his first Spanish news conference since April, said he had learned one thing from the entire 18-day episode of clasicos.
''I learned you can't tell the truth,'' the Portuguese coach said after Madrid's squad worked out in front of what the club said were 57,000 spectators in the Bernabeu, that felt more like a summer beach party than training.
Mourinho, entering his second season with Madrid, said his team was an even stronger unit that had gelled over the summer.
''For me this is an isolated tournament and it doesn't have much to do with what will happen next. Look at what happened at Inter (Milan) - we lost the supercup ... and then won the treble,'' Mourinho said.
''It's the most important tournament of the season and the least important of the season.''
Barcelona won the European final and its third straight league trophy while Madrid managed to better its Catalan rival in the cup final, the only final Guardiola has failed to emerge victorious from during three seasons in charge.
The Supercup represents a fifth and sixth meeting between the pair in 2011. The return leg is on Wednesday at the Camp Nou, with another encounter to come in December in the league.
Mourinho refused to weigh in on the debate over whether Guardiola's squad was perhaps the best ever.
''I don't talk about Barcelona. I only talk about my team,'' Mourinho said.
Madrid defender Sergio Ramos will play as will striker Karim Benzema, Mourinho said, adding the only doubt was whether new signing Fabio Coentrao or Angel Di Maria would start on the bench. That means Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Oezil and Xabi Alonso will all start while Kaka remains a question mark.
Despite his attacking options, Mourinho is unlikely to abandon the defensive tactics he used in the four games between the pair in the spring, which came after a 5-0 defeat in November.
''Don't ask me about favorites,'' Guardiola said. ''When there are two teams this strong up against each other, anything can happen.''