Real Madrid's season, and quite possibly the fate of coach Zinedine Zidane, will be decided in the club's next three games – if things go well the Frenchman will begin to feel unbreakable, if they go badly the season could be as good as over and the legendary figure as good as out.
A worst case scenario of defeats to Sevilla on Saturday, Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday and Atletico Madrid the following Saturday could leave Real Madrid out of Europe and 12 points off the pace having played a game more in LaLiga.
Things could just as easily go well, such is the see-saw nature of Madrid's season, and if they were to win those three games they could be right near the top and through to the knockout stages in Europe.
Zinedine Zidane faces a make or break two weeks in both LaLiga and the Champions LeagueInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Zidane's Real Madrid side fell to yet another defeat on Tuesday, losing 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk
Mauricio Pochettino - 1/1
Raul - 7/2
Massimiliano Allegri - 7/1
Guti - 9/1
Leonardo Jardim - 10/1
Roberto Martinez - 12/1
Arsene Wenger - 12/1
Joachim Low - 14/1Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
*Odds courtsey of Oddschecker*
For now the Madrid media will dwell on a fifth defeat of the season. Marca spoke of the 'fiasco of the signing of Hazard' – with Madrid being denied the talisman they so badly needed after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure.
Elsewhere it spoke of 'the noose of the Europa League'. Most supporters would see it as a humiliation to have to play the junior competition having dominated the senior version for so long. It could be worse than that of course – If Madrid lose on Wednesday and Inter Milan win, they will finish bottom of the group; fail to qualify for the next round for the first time ever, and not even be in the Europa League.
It made things worse that Tuesday night's defeat came in Kiev where the team won its last European Cup against Liverpool. In some ways that was the beginning of the end for Madrid as the continent's dominant force. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale spoke of leaving after the match ended. Bale's was more: 'I'm off if I don't play (he had been left on the bench for the final before climbing off it and winning it); but Ronaldo was very much an adios and he did go that summer.
Zidane went too. In part because he wanted Bale to go and Ronaldo to