By Tim Stannard
Barcelona with chance to make history in the Champions League against Juventus but suffer more catastrophes in LaLiga
In Barcelona's Bizarro World of 2020, the Camp Nou club has taken what might have been testing trips to Italy, Ukraine and Hungary in the Champions League completely in their stride, in stark contrast to a somnambulant life in LaLiga.
Five wins from five sees Tuesday's group-closing home clash against Juventus as nothing more than an exhibition match. It's the chance to complete a six wins from six streak for only the eighth time in Champions League history.
Heck, it's a competition where Martin Braithwaite is considered free-scoring with three goals scored in just two games. Only two goals have been conceded in the competition, the exact same number let in against Cadiz on Saturday, the latest in a series of sorry setbacks in Barcelona's alternate reality in LaLiga.
Barcelona's almost historically impressive record of five wins from five in the Champions League is mirrored by just four wins from ten in LaLiga to leave the club behind Betis and Granada in the standings, two teams who have actively had reported murmurings about firing their coaches.
It's the sanctuary of the Champions League that has kept Ronald Koeman in a job at Barcelona this season. That an overall lack of will to end up with a fourth coach in 2020, as well as an interim president in charge.
Koeman publicly pondered these statistics on Monday, as he reflected on the worst points tally for the club at this stage of the season for 32 years saying that teams in LaLiga were better prepared defensively to face Barca. "We have gone up against teams that have made things tough for us because they play very deep, like Cadiz and Alaves," explained the Dutch coach.
The Sports Burst live show with Hope Solo will poke around what is going on with Barcelona's double life on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET.
And there will be a forensic breakdown of whole weekend of soccer on beIN SPORTS on Monday Night Soccer at 9:30PM ET where the winner of the latest The Match prediction competition, presented by Puma, will also be announced.
Will Sergio Ramos save the day for Real Madrid?
While Real Madrid stabilized in LaLiga with a narrow very squeaky win over Sevilla on Saturday, a very big week continues for Coach Zizou.
The club's Champions League future realistically lies on picking up a home win against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday. A large chunk of the destiny of retaining the LaLiga title lies in Saturday's Madrid Derby against Atletico Madrid - a match is live on Saturday from 2:30PM ET.
The two teams are currently six points apart with Atletico sitting perkily at the top of the perch. A win for Atletico and then a victory in the team's eventual game in hand over Real Madrid would give Diego Simeone a very handy 12-point cushion in the standings, to see out the season. It's the same gap the Rojiblancos currently have over Barcelona.
Thankfully for Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos should be fit for both matches having trained as normal with the team both on Sunday and Monday, with the Spaniard being able to steady a few nerves at the back.
Another side going through a nervy phase is Valencia with the team going into Monday's wrap-up match in LaLiga just a single point above the relegation zone. And that's not good for a club which is a currently going through a coach vs. owners vs. fans three-way standoff.
Eibar vs. Valencia is live on beIN SPORTS on Monday from 3PM ET.
2020 World Cup countdown continues
The 2022 winter World Cup in Qatar takes a little step closer on Monday with the draw taking place for the European qualification groups.
55 nations will be crammed into 10 groups in a draw taking place later on Monday afternoon in the Old Country. 13 teams will then head to Qatar in two-year's time but it's going to get complicated and involve Nations League finalists, playoffs and ski-jumping.
⌛️ The @UEFA Zone #WorldCup preliminary draw begins in just 4 hours— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 7, 2020
🌍 ICYMI, the 55 European hopefuls have been allocated into these 6 pots based on the #FIFARanking
ℹ️👉 https://t.co/YHKkjUHOsI pic.twitter.com/6LZgh5XCN9
The Concacaf qualifying process had an update over the weekend - stay with us, here - with extra dates to the international breaks being added to allow three matches to be played in a window. This allows some catch-up time to a process that is already behind due to 2020 largely being written off in terms of fixtures.
Concacaf's finale is an Octagon of Fate rather than the traditional hexagonal league - the US and Mexico have already qualified - where the top three will automatically go to Qatar for the World Cup which starts on November 21, 2022. The problem is that the qualifying for that group is still taking place.
South America is very much ahead of the game and is four rounds in already to the Qatar qualification process. Asia began its qualifying phase back in 2019. And....you've all gone haven't you?