Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois will be ready for Clasico

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is expected to return in time for Sunday's El Clasico clash with Barcelona, while forward Karim Benzema will come back into the team for Tuesday's Champions League Group F game with Shakhtar Donetsk.

There have been fitness doubts over both key players -- Courtois is struggling with a sciatic nerve problem and Benzema was rested for Saturday's 1-0 win at Getafe -- going into the high-profile match, which will see Madrid and Barca face off for the LaLiga lead with both currently level on points at the top of the table.

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"He's much better today," Ancelotti said when asked about Courtois' condition in a news conference in Warsaw, where Monday's game with Shakhtar will take place due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

"We spoke to him before we left Madrid. He's feeling better. I think he'll start training on Thursday to be ready for the game on Sunday."

Courtois has missed Madrid's last three matches, with back-up keeper Andriy Lunin, 23, coming into the team.

Benzema missed a month of action with a thigh injury sustained against Celtic on Sept. 6, returning to miss a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Osasuna and failing to score in Madrid's 2-1 win over Shakhtar at the Bernabeu, before being left out against Getafe.

"Karim is fine," Ancelotti said. "Tomorrow he'll start the game because he has rested like [Toni] Kroos and [Ferland] Mendy. They're fresh, and they'll play."

Madrid have won all three of their Champions League group matches so far this season and a victory against Shakhtar would see them secure their place in the round of 16 with two games still to play.

"Qualifying is the first objective of the season," Ancelotti said. "The earlier the better. Mentally, it can give you more energy for the league. But we have to take into account the fact that Real Madrid can't ever think about not playing a serious game in the Champions League.

"If we go through tomorrow, the other two games will be proper games that we want to win."