By Tim Stannard
1) Barcelona look for second miracle for Messi and co
Mad scientists scribbling equations on walls has been a staple of any a good movie since the dawn of time and it’s very much the vibe in Barcelona with all sorts of percentages being bandied about for Barcelona to pull-off a miracle re-peat against Juventus.
For Dani Alves, the odds of success are 60%, for Neymar it’s 1%. For Luis Enrique, the result will apparently require Barca scoring five against the Old Lady, with the prediction that Juve are certain to score.
In theory, Barcelona can grab a 3-0 lead and take the game to penalties. Not an outlandish concept, but ignoring the unfortunate fact that Barca have as much ability to keep a clean sheet as a drunk stilt-walker tottering on a water bed carrying a glass of red wine. However, those slight chances have been increased a little with Jeremy Mathieu being cut from the squad on Wednesday.
Tune into the Locker Room at 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM PT for a full breakdown of the Camp Nou chaos to come.
2) Dortmund look to right wrongs against Monaco
Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League clash against Monaco has a very different vibe about it after UEFA’s truly shameful decision to force the Germans to play the first-leg game less than 24-hours after the team’s coach was hit from a bomb blast, injuring Marc Bartra, who required surgery on a broken wrist.
The German visitors to the Mediterranean are 3-2 down in a game where the away goal rule is set to be meaningless between two outfits built on scoring, rather than defending. “Dortmund are a great team with great players,” warned Radamel Falcao ahead of the clash.
3) Madrid’s secret signing
When even the local friendly papers such as ‘Marca’ – basically the Breitbart news for the Real Madrid fraternity in Spain – are suggesting that there was a hint of refereeing fortune in Real Madrid’s 4-2 Extra Time win over Bayern Munich then you can be sure than something whiffy was in the air.
But none of that was dwelt upon for too long with so much else to celebrate on Wednesday – a Ronaldo hat-trick, the player’s 100th Champions League goal and yet another semifinal spot booked ahead of an inevitable final against Atletico Madrid. No talk though of the real secret to Real Madrid’s recent success – the purchase of a Tibetan Luck Demon, 12 months ago.
“Madrid leads in Europe!” yells Wednesday’s ‘Marca’ on two sides who both ended up on the good side of referees in their double-header matches against Leicester City and Bayern Munich respectively. But perhaps the most entertaining reaction to the result was from Mad Tino Asprilla who was less than complimentary about Coach Zizou’s men, mainly because they are mean to James Rodriguez.
Tune into the XTRA from 7PM ET / 4PM PT for the latest from the Madrid capital on the day after the night before and what it all possibly means for el Clasico.
4) Marquez looking to find magic touch in Texas
A big weekend of top motorbike racing in the USA is on the horizon with the return of Moto America and also the Austin leg of the Moto GP championships – both live and exclusive on beIN SPORTS. The two previous rounds have been won by Maverick Vinales but Marc Marquez is claiming that he is just looking for a podium finish, rather than winning at a track where he has been dominant in recent years.
"If there's a chance of winning in Austin, I will try, but we have to understand if it's possible,” said the Spaniard, currently in eighth in the Moto GP standings.
5) Aaron Hernandez found dead in his prison cell
Officials at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections have said that former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell in the early hours of Wednesday morning, days after being acquitted for a 2012 double homicide. Officials said that Hernandez was found hanged in his cell.
Hernandez was already serving a life sentence without parole in a Massachusetts prison after he was found guilty of the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
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