But such is the case in sports, where drama is rampant and unpredictability is the name of the game.
For both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, the truth couldn’t be any sour as both Spanish clubs fell in the hands of Chelsea and Bayern Munich, respectively, during the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
At the very least, Madrid scored a crucial away goal and earning a ‘draw’ on the aggregate of the first leg, but the task is nevertheless daunting against a German squad that appears to be peaking at the right time. The onus for Los Blancos is to protect their net at all costs and keep Bayern from scoring the always important away goal. Right now, the first leg’s 2-1 score really counts as a draw in Champions League play because away goals are doubled on the road.
If Real Madrid can recover fast enough from the highs of beating Barcelona in La Liga play over the weekend and pressure Bayern to play to their high-octane offense, we’re not about to count out Madrid from turning the tide on their German rivals.
On the flip side, Barcelona’s road to the Champions League finals got a little tougher when they fell to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week, 1-0. Nevermind the fact that the Catalans dominated possession of that match at such a criminal rate – 80% to 20%! – the fact remains that they gave up one goal to Chelsea’s towering man-mountain of a striker, Didier Drogba. Even more important was their failure in securing an away goal before heading back to Camp Nou for the second leg match this Tuesday. While some folks have scoffed at Chelsea’s win over Barca as pure luck, the results still show 1-0 in favor of the English team.
So what happens now when both matches head back to Spain for the second leg?
We say fireworks, and lots of it.
The road to the Finals will still be a little easier for Barca than it is for Madrid, despite being one-down against Chelsea.
Whichever team you’re rooting for, Real Madrid and Barcelona’s unexpected defeats in the first leg of the Champions League semis at the hands of Bayern Munich and Chelsea have made the second leg matches that much more interesting, not just for the casual and die-hard fans, but for sports bettors too.
You want fireworks? These two matches will give you all that – and more.