By Tim Stannard
1000 storylines packed into one game as Juve face Real Madrid
Nnnnaaaaaaaaar!... Nnnnaaaaaaaaar!... Nnnnaaaaaaaaar!...
The alarm has gone off at beIN SPORTS HQ and not just because 18 minutes went by without Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo being mentioned at some point on air.
There is an official narrative overload concerning the Champions League quarterfinal first leg clash between Juventus and Real Madrid that is live on beIN SPORTS CANADA from 2PM ET / 11AM PT with our Phil and Ray on the mic.
If Real Madrid fail, will it ultimately lead to Coach Zizou’s departure? Will Zidane eventually manage Juventus, the team for which he has a big soft spot? Have Juve learned the lessons of last season’s Champions League final rout, something that Massimo Allegri has declared? “From a psychological view the team has certainly made huge strides since then,” noted the Juve boss.
Can Juve play well for more than 10 minutes at a time in games, something the Old Lady has not been able to achieve of late? Is Giorgio Chiellini simply messing with everyone’s heads when claiming that Sergio Ramos was the best centerback in the world and that Cristiano Ronaldo was sure to score?
And will Gonzalo Higuain get some revenge on Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, for the way he left the club – and make his father happy in the process? The answers to the questions are – No, probably, yes, yes, yes, definitely no.
Sevilla look for new football miracle against Bayern
The vibe with Sevilla’s Champions League encounter against Bayern Munich is whether lightening can strike twice for the plucky La Liga outfit.
99% of the soccer world doubted that the Andalusians would get past Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United over two legs in the Last 16…but Sevilla prevailed. And so, the sporting odds must be shattered again for Sevilla to make it into the semi-finals. The challenge this time around for Sevilla is that little bit more formidable with a drooling, snarling, bulldog Bayern Munich coming to town for a first-leg quarter-final clash.
The case for Sevilla is as follows - yes, the Spanish team are capable of terrible results, but also amazing ones, too. As well as the Manchester United achievement, Sevilla were bossing Barcelona on Saturday until Leo Messi came onto the pitch. And Bayern have had a rough time against Spanish teams of late, being knocked out of the tournament four times by sides from the land of ham – twice by Real Madrid, once by Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
However, Jupp Heynckes had no interest in curses when looking ahead to the match. “The statistic of the last four seasons is irrelevant to this match,” snapped the Bayern boss. And it is that self-belief that is one of the three reasons to believe in Bayern Munich. The second is that the Bundesliga outfit are dominant at the moment, having just crushed Borussia Dortmund 6-0. The third? They are German. Enough said.
Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for the best of the action and reaction from Tuesday’s big Champions League encounters.
Mexico v MLS double header in Champions League
The Old Country isn’t alone in hogging the Champions League limelight. Oh no. Tuesday sees the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals getting underway with two MLS v Mexico affairs that could see an all-North America final. But probably not, considering Mexico’s recent winning record in the competition over the past 12 years in its various formats.
Toronto are hosting Club America on Tuesday night with the coach of the Canadian side, Greg Vanney, expecting their Mexican opponents to bring the noise - “I don't think they'll come in and just sit back.” The second semifinal first leg is on Wednesday with the NY Red Bulls on their travels against Chivas.
USA returns to silence after March Madness finale
It’s time to hurl brackets into the trash can and return to the normal state of affairs in workplaces across America with co-workers barely saying a word to each other.
The distraction of March Madness is over with Villanova disposing of Michigan in a fairly low drama affair to win 79-62. A second NCAA basket title in three years is set to create a giant stack of cash for the college and none for the players who put in the hard work.
Bookmakers have already been busy looking at next year’s tournament and have installed Duke as favorites with Villanova in second place. Just 11 months until conversations spark up again across this great land.
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