Whichever way you look, the draw for the Champions League Quarter Final has thrown up some massive ties. But today our attention turns to Real Madrid v Bayern Munich. And we’re putting our necks on the line by saying Los Blancos won’t be retaining their title this year.
Six games in 16 days.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have it all to do in the coming weeks, and their priority should be on winning their first La Liga title since the 2011-12 campaign.
As things stand, they’re two points ahead of Barcelona at the top of the table with a game in hand – but that could all change over the next few weeks.
Averaging a match every 2.6 days, Real will have to rotate their squad to perfection to keep their key players fresh for the challenges ahead. But they can’t risk fielding weaker sides in any of their next six matches, because doing so could see them drop vital points in the title race or crash out of the Champions League.
April 2 sees Alaves travel to the Bernabeu, and on paper that seems like an easy three points for the hosts. But no sooner will the final whistle go in that game, Zidane’s men will travel across Madrid to face Leganes on a Wednesday evening.
After that, it’s another home game for Cristiano Ronaldo and co, but thut this time, their opponents are one of the toughest in world football.
Step forward, Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone’s side have won their last three league visits to the Bernabeu, and Real will be looking to put an end to that impressive run.
But to do that, they’ll have to field their strongest side.
Fielding their strongest side, however, means the likes of Ronaldo and Luka Modric will have just four days to recover, travel to Germany and step out against European giants Bayern Munich.
They’ll head out at the Allianz Arena having just played three games – three crucial games – in 10 days. No wonder Carlo Ancelotti’s men are 3/4 favourites to win.
Then it’s back on a plane to Spain, and there’s no time to rest as the La Liga leaders must make the 292-mile trip from Madrid to Gijon to face a side facing relegation. To them, every point is vital. They’ll frustrate Real’s attacking players and do everything they can to earn at least a point here.
It’s back to the Spanish capital on Saturday evening for the Galacticos, who will recover on Sunday, before regrouping on Monday in preparation for the return leg of the Bayern game the following night.
These may be some of the biggest sporting superstars on the planet, but this is a huge ask for any athlete.
Granted, Bayern’s fixture list is just as congested – playing six games in 17 days. But they’re a staggering 13 points ahead of their nearest Bundesliga rivals, meaning Ancelotti can field fringe players and youngsters domestically to keep his key men fully fresh for the Champions League.
Have we convinced you? Because at 4/6, there’s nowhere else we’re putting our money than on Bayern Munich qualifying.
Oh, and after their Champions League Second Leg clash with Bayern, Madrid will welcome none other than Barcelona to town.
Long story short, plenty could change in the next month.
And don’t be surprised to see fans calling for Zidane’s head after that meeting with the Catalan giants.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing