Real Madrid came away from the first leg of their Champions League semifinal in a decent place. They were down a goal on aggregate, but they had an away goal and 90 minutes at the Bernabeu awaiting them. There wasn't a ton to complain about.
The start of the semifinals in their rearview mirror, Madrid turned their attention to El Clasico. Whenever Real Madrid and Barcelona meet there is plenty on the line. It is arguably the biggest rivalry in the world, full of history and political undertones, so the hype it always there, but there was even more on the line this time. If Madrid won, they would essentially clinch the La Liga title. Lose and they would have just a one point lead in the league.
Of course, Madrid beat Barcelona and now they are cruising down easy street to the league title. It wasn't so easy for Madrid, though. To Los Merengues, getting the better of Barcelona was equally important, if not more important than the Champions League. They did it, but there was a lot of build up, a lot of intensity and a lot of emotion.
To get up for a big match takes a lot. Big matches are draining. Madrid just did that on Saturday. They also did it last Tuesday. Now they will have to do it against Bayern Munich a second time on Wednesday. To ask a team to get up for three gigantic matches in succession is asking a lot and a lot is being asked of Madrid.
Real Madrid might still have their head on Saturday and their great win. They might also be emotionally drained by their last two matches. They might be a lot of things and that's not a good thing going into a match where they need a win for a spot in the Champions League final.
We'll have pre-game and live game coverage in our Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works.