Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.
We are missing the two players who have defined this rivalry over the past decade, but there is still a huge amount of talent on show and plenty to fight for, with both sides having suffered below-par starts to the season.
There is no shortage of things to talk about in the buildup to this one, so let's waste no time and start with a look at the team news...
Well, we already knew what the headlines would be before the starting lineups were released, with today's game being the first Clasico to be played without Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the teamsheets since December 2007.
Ronaldo has, of course, left Madrid to join Juventus, while Messi fractured his arm against Sevilla last weekend and has been ruled out for a few weeks as a result. Messi is the all-time leading goalscorer in Clasicos, so at the risk of stating the obvious, his absence is a huge blow for the hosts today.
By contrast, Madrid won twice against Barcelona without Ronaldo in their team during his time with the club, although this is their first taste of the Clasico since he left and signs so far this season suggest that they may struggle in his absence this afternoon.
One such player is Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who leads the line for the hosts once again this afternoon. The Uruguayan has struggled for goals by his usual standards so far this season, but since he joined Barcelona in 2014 no player has found the back of the net more often in this fixture, scoring six times.
Rafinha opened the scoring against Inter and impressed Valverde enough to once again be preferred to Ousmane Dembele alongside Suarez and Philippe Coutinho in the front three. It is an impossible ask for him to fill the boots of Messi, though.
Arthur is once again preferred in midfield having impressed during his Barcelona career so far, while Ivan Rakitic will come up against his compatriot and fellow World Cup finalists Luka Modric in midfield.
The Croatian has looked very fatigued in recent weeks which led to the suggestions he might be left out in favour of Dani Ceballos, but his inclusion means that - despite the absence of Messi and Ronaldo - the game still boasts the man crowned the world's best player for the year.
That is one of two changes made by Lopetegui for this match, with the other seeing Thibaut Courtois return in goal ahead of Navas. Kroos and Casemiro continue in midfield, while Marcelo has shaken off the knock he picked up against Plzen to start.
The bulk of the attacking threat must still come from the forward three, though, and Lopetegui keeps faith with Bale, Benzema and Isco today as Asensio is once again forced to settle for a place on the bench.
Victory for either side could be the difference between a one-point gap or a seven-point gap, with Barcelona knowing that the latter would give them significant daylight over their fiercest rivals and further pile the pressure on under-fire manager Lopetegui.
A 2-0 win for Atletico Madrid over Real Sociedad yesterday saw Diego Simeone's side move top of the table, but a draw or a win today would see Barcelona leapfrog them to the summit once again.
It is at the other end where the problems have arisen so far this season, with Barcelona having conceded 11 goals in their opening nine games - a tally nine other teams in the division can better. Only Sevilla have a worse defensive record in the top six of the table.
All 11 of Barcelona's league goals have been conceded in their past 11 games, then, and with Umtiti and Vermaelen currently injured there isn't a huge amount that Valverde can do to change that worrying figure right now.
Barca drew with Girona, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia in that time - as well as falling to a famous defeat at the hands of Leganes - but they were repeatedly let off the hook by poor results for the teams around them in the table too. Victory today would make it back-to-back league wins for the first time since September 15.
Even in La Liga, the recent blip should be taken in wider context, with the defeat at the hands of Leganes being one of only two they have suffered in their last 54 La Liga outings. stretching back to April 2017. Valverde's side only lost once all season on their way to the title last term, with that coming in the penultimate match of the campaign.
Since then Barcelona have won 31 and lost none of their 36 home games across all competitions, including five wins and two draws this season, during which time they have scored 24 goals at an average of more than three per game.
Their unbeaten streak at home in La Liga is even more impressive, stretching back 41 games and more than two years - their longest such run since a 67-match streak came to an end in February 1977.
Not since 2001-02 have Los Blancos made a worst start to a league campaign, picking up only 14 points from their opening nine games to leave Julen Lopetegui's job under intense scrutiny.
Lopetegui was only appointed in the summer after being sacked by Spain on the eve of the World Cup as a result of his agreement with Madrid, but his 10th La Liga match in charge may well prove to be his last if things don't go his way tonight.
Despite making such a poor start to the campaign and now sitting ninth in the table courtesy of Getafe's win over Betis earlier today, Real are still only five points off leaders Atletico as thing stand. That is far from an unassailable gap, but should they lose this one then the seven-point deficit to Barcelona looks a lot more difficult to make up.
A 2-1 win over a team form Czech Republic would usually be an unremarkable - perhaps even disappointing - result for Madrid, but on this occasion it was hugely important both for their Champions League hopes - having already lost to CSKA Moscow - and to get them back to winning ways after a five-game run without victory.
Lopetegui's side have scored 13 goals in their opening nine La Liga games, which is their lowest tally at this stage since 2004-05 and only the sixth-best in the league this season - a very poor return for a club of Madrid's calibre.
Another defeat tonight would make it three league losses on the bounce for the first time since May 2009, when their run of five defeats in a row was also the last time they failed to win in five successive La Liga outings.
Los Blancos have now won just one of their last eight awat games in all competitions - one in seven in La Liga - and come into this match winless in their last four, including three successive defeats without scoring.
Madrid's last goal on the road came in a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on September 15, and tonight they risk losing three successive away league games for the first time since that dreadful run in May 2009.
This is one of the most intriguing meetings between these two great rivals in a long time, with both missing the talismans of the past decade and more and both also struggling to find their best form this season. Barcelona do have the edge in the formbook, though, and with home advantage also in their favour, we are leaning towards a Barca win.
SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Barcelona 3-1 Real Madrid
Indeed, there are now only two wins in it, with Madrid winning 95 to Barcelona's 93 down the years, and 50 of the matches ending all square.
That record is currently held by Madrid, who netted in 22 consecutive editions of the fixture between 1959 and 1969.
The last three here at the Camp Nou have ended in two draws and a Madrid win, most recently in May when Gareth Bale's stunning equaliser earned a 2-2 draw after Suarez, Messi and Ronaldo had also got on the scoresheet.
The reverse saw the bragging rights go to Barcelona, though, with Valverde's side running out 3-0 winners at the Bernabeu as Madrid saw Carvajal sent off.
BARCELONA STARTING XI: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Rafinha, Suarez, Coutinho
REAL MADRID STARTING XI: Courtois; Nacho, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Isco
The ball is clipped over the top for Alba racing down the left flank and he has the time and space to lay the ball into the path of Coutinho. From there, the Brazilian is left with a simple finish as he strokes a left-footed effort into the bottom corner.
| GOOOOOAL! |
Jordi Alba lays it on a plate for Philippe Coutinho who applies the finishing touches. 👏
Advantage, #Barca in #ElClasico. #PureFootball pic.twitter.com/c1RVQ4vMj4— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) October 28, 2018
Luis Suárez is the first player, other than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to score a penalty goal in El Clásico since Ruud van Nistelrooy in Real's 4-1 La Liga home win on 7 May 2008. #ElClasico— Gracenote Live (@GracenoteLive) October 28, 2018
The hosts have enjoyed the lion's share of possession and territory, with Madrid's only spell where they started to look a match for their opponents ending when Barcelona doubled their advantage. It is a long way back for the visitors, and perhaps for manager Julen Lopetegui too.
The full-back had all of the space he needed to pick out a low pass back to Coutinho, who was left with a simple finish into the bottom corner with Courtois drawn out of position.
It was the correct decision, and Suarez stepped up himself to tuck his inch-perfect spot kick beyond Courtois and into the bottom corner.
It will take a remarkable fightback from Madrid to turn this game around, and a failure to do so could well see this prove to be Lopetegui's final match in charge of the European champions.
Isco reaches the byline down the right channel and puts a cross into the box which Lenglet is able to deflect away from Bale and Benzema in the middle. However, Marcelo picks up the loose ball and keeps his composure in the area, taking a touch before firing a right-footed finish past the keeper.
Dembele makes an immediate impact to drive forward and launch the attack before giving the ball out to Roberto. He clips the ball to Suarez, who diverts a brilliant header past Courtois.
Ramos is robbed of possession by Roberto, who immediately plays the ball through for Suarez. The Uruguayan only has the keeper to beat, and his finish is exquisite as he lifts his finish over Courtois.
Dembele beats his man far too easily on the left flank and stands his cross up into the middle for Vidal to nod past Courtois having been left completely unmarked!
Luis Suarez will dominate the headlines courtesy of his hat-trick, while Coutinho and Vidal were also on the scoresheet for the hosts, but at one stage it looked as though Madrid might fight their way back into the match after Marcelo had halved the deficit.
Barca scored three times in the final 15 minutes to embarrass their fierce rivals, though, climbed back to the top of La Liga in the process.
Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's Clasico as Barcelona produce a memorable 5-1 win over their fiercest rivals to pour more misery on their season. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stay tuned for the fallout to this game.
From me, though, it is goodbye for now!