It's one of the most intense rivalries in the world. Many would say it's the most intense.
Boca and River face off in a few hours and there are more questions than answers on both sides of this eternal battle as these two teams do not find themselves in the best footballing epochs of their respective histories. Today's rivalry will follow the line of the last few encounters where the fans had were bigger protagonists than the players themselves.
The economics of the game have changed as well as the socioeconomic stigmas that this rivalry had 15, 20 or even 30 years ago. No longer is Boca the team of the poor or River the team of the affluent. That line blurred quite a bit if you go to La Boca where high rise apartments are sprouting everywhere and a more modern area begins to flourish. At the same time there are lots of River fans that you see in the villas (Argentina's equivalent to the favelas).
River Plate are doing better after their horrible start to the Torneo Inicial and what better way to officially become a contender for the league title at the halfway mark than to beat your eternal rival that is severely weakened due to injuries.
Boca have had over 40 injuries in 2013 alone, yet all of these inconveniences are not an excuse for the team's performance in 2013. Carlos Bianchi even admitted himself that this starting XI is not the one that he was thinking about especially after the losses of Ribaír Rodriguez as well as Pablo Ledesma in the past few days.
For River, things go well with Manuel Lanzini. The former Fluminense loanee has shown some major strides this season and slowly has become the player that helps River establish themselves offensively. If Lanzini is working today, El Millo have a major chance of winning and keeping Boca with only one win on the road in 2013.
Boca, many will be looking at Juan Román Riquelme. Yes, the 35-year-old is important but he is not the player that he was once before. Boca's most important player now has to be Fernando Gago. The former Real Madrid man is the one that gives balance to the team in the midfield. For Boca, he is a player that is very important as he can make other players around him better- on a consistent basis.