With no disrespect intended to Bayern Munich, Real Madrid were probably looking ahead to El Clasico a bit during their UEFA Champions League match on Tuesday, a 2-1 win for the Bavarians at Allianz Arena. Bayern were solid, but were not at their best in a win over a team that has looked like the best in the world on league and Champions League form this season.
Madrid weren't awful and they didn't bench any key players, but neither had to happen for Bayern to post a slightly better result than expected. If the players were just a little bit less focused in training than they would normally be and Jose Mourinho spent just a couple of hours fewer on preparation than he normally would, it probably made a difference. Madrid are a better team than Bayern, but Bayern are a good enough team that a couple of hours of work could be the difference between a win and a draw.
Chelsea and Barcelona are in similar situations Wednesday. Barca are obviously focused on the exact same game as Bayern, while Chelsea need to avoid a loss to Arsenal this weekend to keep fourth place within one round's reach. A win over Arsenal would bring third place into play. Both of these teams have a game on Saturday just as important as the game they're playing on Wednesday, and one ha to wonder whether or not the quality of this game will suffer as a result.
We'll have continuous pre-game updates and live game coverage in our Chelsea vs. Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Semifinals StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.