Real Madrid CF needed a boost before facing FC Barcelona in the highly anticipated first "El Clasico" of the season. Los Blancos had just come off two consecutive losses and their 5-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday was exactly what they needed to get the morale boost before facing their biggest rivals.

Carlo Ancelotti's side had a stellar start to the season before stumbling right before the recent international break. They suffered a shock defeat against Champions League newcomers Sheriff Tiraspol before also conceding against Espanyol in La Liga just days later.

The emphatic victory in Kiev was exactly what Real Madrid needed to fire a warning towards the hosts at the Camp Nou. Barcelona had a slow start to the season but their campaign has been revived by the return of Ansu Fati from injury and Sergio Aguero's debut.

Sunday clash at the Camp Nou has become more mouth watering than ever, with both sides determined to stake their claim at La Liga's top spot.

Real Madrid's midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro proved that they still have what it takes to deliver in the big games. Ancelotti's strategy of rotating players raised eyebrows after the losses, but having the three veterans well rested for the big games clearly paid off.

Vinicius Junior also proved that his promising start to the season was not a fluke. The Brazilian youngster scored two goals, showing that his finishing troubles have now been buried firmly in the past. He had previously proven that he has the composure to score even in El Clasico, and Real Madrid fans will be looking forward to having him on the lineup on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rodrygo Goes is also another youngster who is proving that he can consistently be relied upon, and Ancelotti appears to be gaining confidence in his abilities. He has now scored seven times in 19 appearances in the Champions League, showing that he can consistently deliver the goods.

The first goal was an own goal after a Lucas Vazquez pass to Karim Benzema was accidentally tapped into his own net by Shakhtar defender Serhiy Kryvtsov. The following four Real Madrid goals did not need any help from the opposition however, with Benzema putting his name on the board in stoppage time to put icing on the cake.

Real Madrid will be happy to get the nightmare behind them, after having lost twice to Shakhtar in last season's group stage. Now, they have their sights set on El Clasico, where they will be facing a Barcelona squad that is desperate to get their season off the ground.

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema scored for Real Madrid hours before he is due to go on trial in a French court AFP / Sergei SUPINSKY