Weblog: The football punter

A weekend break is a real advantage in Europe

YOU can’t help but laugh – though I doubt Jose Mourinho is seeing the funny side.

The Chelsea boss has been boring us for weeks about the rigours of the Premier League fixture schedule and the impact it’s been having on his side.

I’m inclined to agree with him. I’m convinced Demba Ba would be homing in on the 30-goal mark had Chelsea not had to suffer the occasional inconvenience of playing a couple of games in a week.

And it’s blindingly obvious to everyone that Sunderland would never have won at the Bridge on Saturday had Chelsea had a well-deserved six-week sabbatical after their win at Swansea.

Anyway, the funny bit is this. Over in Madrid, Spanish footy chiefs showed that it is possible to do whatever they want by deciding to call off Real’s match at Valladolid on Saturday to give them breathing space ahead of their Champions League showdown with Bayern.

Valladolid, naturally enough, were gutted thinking this probably wasn’t a bad time to be playing Real with Ronaldo rested and Carlo Ancelotti’s eyes on the Bayern tie, but no.

A phone call to HQ from the big cheese at the Bernabeu and bosh – game off. Amazing what you can get if you don’t make a constant fuss, isn’t it Jose?

Bayern, of course, also go into the tie fresh having downed tools in about mid-March once they’d won the Bundesliga, so there’s no excuse for this one not being a belter.

I’m concerned that any side which makes Man United look half decent must be doing something wrong, so I’ll have a bit of Real Madrid to take a lead back to Germany for the second leg.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS1

Real Madrid v B Munich

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Real Madrid have scored 32 goals in this season’s Champions League
Expert verdict
Real Madrid have already beaten two Bundesliga teams to reach the Champions League semi-finals and they can take down Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu. Carlo Ancelotti’s side should be buzzing after beating Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final and they have the attack to take a lead to Munich.