by Tim Stannard
Real Madrid looking to match a rare happy night for Barcelona against the Brazilian flair of Shakhtar Donetsk
A peculiar feeling for Barcelona fans waking up on Wednesday morning...a strange sensation of positivity. Maybe even a smile.
Tuesday's Champions League opener against Ferencvaros ended up producing a nine-fold dose of happiness and shiny things of goodness.
1) Barcelona won the game 5-1 with five different scorers.
2) Those scorers included a record-breaking Lionel Messi who opened up the night with a penalty and looked very sprightly alongside Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho and Francisco Trincao up front.
3) Two seventeen year-old footballers scored for Barcelona with both Ansu Fati and Pedri grabbing goals.
4) Ousmane Dembele came off the bench to score and give an assist.
5) Antoine Griezmann was left on the metaphorical bench for the entire match and Barcelona looked much better.
6) Gerard Pique picked up a red card to make him feel alive.
7) After the match, Barcelona then announced a quadruple whammy of contract extensions, but noticeably that of Ter Stegen. Talks had been ongoing for some time, but the German keeper has now signed up until 2025. Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet also renewed their deals.
8) Barcelona showed that they still love freedom by starting American star, Sergino Dest again.
9) Barca go into Saturday's Clasico in a considerably happier place than the one which was mulling over the defeat to Getafe on Saturday.
Zidane looks to "change Real Madrid's dynamic" against South American Shakhtar
The Champions League challenge for Coach Zizou's men is going to be a little bit tougher with the savvy Shakhtar Donetsk coming to town, a team that is 50% Brazilian flair despite hailing from the Ukraine.
The squad contains 10 players from Brazil with six featuring in the team's weekend win against Lviv. The Ukraine outfit even has a Portuguese boss for good measure.
However, Zidane knows that that his job is also to put Real Madrid into a better frame of mind going into Saturday's match. "We deserve the criticism for the other day, myself first. Not just the players, me too. Now we are going to try to change the dynamic," promised the French coach.
Coverage of El Clasico gets underway live on beIN SPORTS from 9AM on Saturday 24th October.
Atletico face ultimate Champions League challenge
Elsewhere in the Champions League on Wednesday, Liverpool will be facing a first taste of life without the injured Virgil Van Dyke away at Ajax.
Luis Suarez and Atletico Madrid will be in Bavaria trying to stop the footballing battering ram that is Bayern Munich while the mighty Marseille makes a return to the Champions League after a gap of seven long years.
Three groups wrapped up in the Copa Libertadores on beIN SPORTS on Tuesday night. Despite a 3-2 win against Athletico Paranaense, Penarol failed to make it into the qualifying rounds and will instead drop into the Copa Sudamericana. River Plate won Group D with a 3-0 victory over LDU Quito.
Wednesday's action across the network sees three more groups wrapping up with the top two places moving on to the knockout stages. Reigning champions, Flamengo, will be looking to secure top spot in Group A just needing a point against Junior in a match that is live on beIN SPORTS at 8:30PM ET.