How Barcelona's rescheduled match helps Real Madrid in Champions League

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Despite everything that’s going on with Barcelona at the moment — still reeling from their loss in El Clasico at the weekend and their manager doing a U-turn over his decision to leave this summer, all amid their continued financial peril — the last thing they would want is to be involved in anything that would boost the hopes of LaLiga rivals Real Madrid winning the Champions League this season, even inadvertently.

But that is what happened when their upcoming match against Valencia was moved by the Spanish league in a bid to help Los Blancos win a 15th European crown.

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Barça were due to host Valencia on Saturday lunchtime but will instead welcome Los Che to the Olympic Stadium on Monday (stream LIVE at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+) in a fixture change that was made after last week’s Champions League quarterfinals.

It was one of six games from this round of fixtures in the Spanish top flight that have been switched to accommodate Madrid’s desire to play on Friday, to maximise their preparation time for Tuesday’s semifinal first leg away at Bayern Munich. Madrid’s request was granted, with LaLiga moving their trip to Real Sociedad forward 24 hours, from Saturday to Friday (stream LIVE at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+).

The knock-on effect was that the Spanish league decided that meant they had to move another five kick-off times: Barça vs. Valencia, Atlético Madrid vs. Athletic Club, Alavés vs. Celta Vigo, Almería vs. Getafe and Las Palmas vs. Girona.

Barça are very rarely given the Monday night slot in LaLiga due to their involvement in European competitions, but their elimination at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain last week enabled the league to push Valencia’s visit back. As many Valencia fans had already arranged to be in Barcelona for the weekend, their club will provide bus travel for supporters as well as giving them the option to return their ticket. Around a hundred tickets were returned and put back on sale this week.

Bayern, meanwhile, will play Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Saturday (stream LIVE at 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+), giving Madrid slightly more time to get ready for the match at the Allianz Arena next week.

Elsewhere in Germany, Borussia Dortmund will also play on Saturday at RB Leipzig (stream LIVE at 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+), before hosting PSG next Wednesday in the other semifinal.

PSG will also play on Saturday but they will have a free weekend ahead of the second leg, at the Parc des Princes on May 7, after receiving help from Ligue 1. Their game against Nice has been rescheduled for May 15, giving them a full week to prepare for the return match against Dortmund.

Luis Enrique’s side received the same treatment before their second leg against Barça, benefitting from a weekend off to turn around a 3-2 first-leg defeat and advance to the last four after a 4-1 win in Catalonia. Barça, meanwhile, had won the first leg after a nine-day break due to the Spanish top flight taking the weekend off before the quarterfinal first leg due to the Copa del Rey final being played.

So with Barça both benefitting from having more rest by winning the first leg, and then losing the second leg after PSG had enjoyed a longer break themselves, they will know very well just how valuable their fixture change could prove for Real Madrid’s European hopes.

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