It is rare that either Barcelona and Real Madrid enter an El Clasico at the back of a loss. It is even rarer that both teams are preparing for it at the back of defeat.
Over the midweek, Real Madrid lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, with a goal from Mario Gomez breaking the deadlock after Frank Ribery and Mesut Ozil had scored. Barcelona too returned to Spain empty handed after being frustrated by Chelsea who scored via Didier Drogba and virtually defended for the rest of the game.
Surely wins for either team would have made it easier for them to prepare for what could be the most important match of the season for both. And with chances of a super El Clasico deciding who will rein supreme in Europe still high, this match is not about a regular win/loss situation.
This match is about momentum, mind-set, confidence and all things intangible that affect a game of football.
This one match at the Nou Camp will provide a confidence boost so high that the winners could sweep all that lies ahead of them. If Barcelona win, they cut the gap in La Liga to just one point, waiting for Real Madrid to slip once and snatch the league crown.
The sufferings will also be felt in London. A Barca victory will pump up their superstars. The tick-tack-toe passing will be quicker, slicker and riskier. Andres Iniesta’s tricks will be sweeter to watch and Lionel Messi’s left-foot at it’s miraculous best.
But if they don’t win, then Barcelona, whose belief to win is more than any other team in the world, will be worn out before entertaining Chelsea.
If Real Madrid win the battle of all battles, then Bayern will be welcomed to crunchier tackles from Pepe, a more creative Xabi Alonso, a sharper Iker Casillas and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo at the peak of his powers.
But it always does not work like that, does it?
A loss for either team could push them to their limits and inject an extra dose of adrenaline in their systems when they return to European turf... dying to prove that they can win. Even that is a vital cog in the brain of a footballer.
Eric Cantona did it again and again and has been deemed one of the greatest no.7s in European football. David Beckham has done it at the highest levels possible. So has Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Roy Keane and Carlos Tevez.
The losing team will be so eager to play one more match opening to the famous ‘We are the Champions’ tune that they might do the unthinkable. They might make the final with one thing on their mind - revenge.
For those who believe statistics are a roadmap to what may happen, then Real Madrid seem like better recovery merchants than Barcelona. After their loss to Barcelona in the league this season, they went on an 11-match winning streak. But Barcelona, in spite of winning posted a form of D-W-W-D-W-L.
This is no El Clasico which will be seen only in Spain. This is an El Clasico which could determine who will be the kings of Europe. This one will send tremors across Europe.
And after all that is said and done, lets hope it does not end up being a drab draw.
First Published On : Apr 20, 2012 16:52 IST