“No estamos obligados a una remontada histórica. Solo a una victoria normal,” said Jose Mourinho following Real Madrid’s 2-1 loss to Bayern Munich earlier today. Always the optimist (or realist), Mourinho is, as usual, keeping a level head about a situation that is not entirely dire. Sure, Madrid’s fate in the Champions League now comes down to one game—a game in which they’ll begin a goal down. But it’s also a game at the Bernabéu, and if any task is within Madrid’s grasp, it’s scoring a bunch of goals in front of a home crowd.
I went to the Bernabéu in 2002. It’s such a (literally) spectacular place to experience a match. I can only imagine the energy that will hang in the atmosphere when Bayern travels there for the second leg. The only thing better would be, of course, a visit by Barcelona, but a trip to the Camp Nou will have to suffice, as Madrid heads east to face their La Liga rivals on Saturday.
While the Champions League is in many ways more important and prestigious than the World Cup, nothing is (or should be) more important to Madrid than finally slaying the dragon and, in the process, closing out the league title. Granted, Madrid doesn’t need to beat Barcelona to bring home the hardware, but let’s face it: a win on Saturday will make Madrid’s season, while a loss or even tie will prolong the title race at Madrid’s peril.
My advice to Jose Mourinho and Los Blancos is the same delivered by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross: A-B-C—Always Be Closing.
They’ve set all kinds of records this year but now it’s time to close out the league, like any champion must do.
Café con leche? Café con leche is for closers.