City looking to overcome Bernabeu shock
But for a crazy, hard-to-process final few minutes against Real Madrid, Manchester City would be running out on Sunday with a Premier League-Champions League double well within their grasp.
Instead the mood is different. Despite a two-goal cushion with time almost up, they conceded twice to Real Madrid and then again in extra-time to have that final place against Liverpool snatched away from them.
Given their record of near misses in the Champions League, the body blow was even greater. Just how did this happen?
City have to quickly dust themselves down because one slip in their final four Premier League games and the title could turn to dust too.
They remain in the box seat and it's in their hands. The exchange makes Pep Guardiola's men 1.4740/85 to be crowned champions for the fourth time in five years although they've been matched as short as 1.081/12.
After Sunday's match with Newcastle, City face trips to Wolves and West Ham before closing with a home game against Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa.
Howe has a point to prove against Pep
Newcastle have gone from relegation fodder to a mid-table team acting as kingmakers in the title race.
After their dreadful start, the Magpies were as short as 1.558/15 for the drop but they go into the weekend safely tucked away in 10th place and with every chance of a top-half finish.
As for helping control the destiny of the title, Newcastle couldn't stop Liverpool last weekend and although a 1-0 loss suggests a tight contest, Eddie Howe's men didn't really lay a glove on the visitors.
Howe had a poor previous record against Klopp and against Guardiola it's even worse: nine defeats out of nine.
Still, although the impact of the Saudi money hasn't totally transformed the club just yet, Howe has made some good acqusitions and got a tune out of many of the existing players.
Before the Liverpool defeat, they'd won four on the spin and seven of the last 10 in the Premier League. That's form very few teams can match.
City red-hot favourites to stay on track
Whatever the circumstances of their Champions League defeat, Man City were always going to be huge favourites to win this. But is the 1.182/11 crazily short if there's some fragility there?
Anyone who thinks so will surely pounce on The Draw at 9.28/1 or the Newcastle win at 20.019/1.
There are two legitimate lines of thought at work here and I'm not entirely sure where my thoughts sit.
The first is that City are so fired up by the shock in Madrid that they take it out on Newcastle and go back to do what they do best: controlling a game and wearing the oppositon down.
The alternative take is that City are still reeling, they suffer a hangover and just can't put the game to bed, allowing Newcastle to pour on late pressure and nick an equaliser or even a winner.
The former appears more likely but the market agrees. It's tempting to take them on but Pep's record against Howe teams is hugely one-sided and I was rather underwhelmed by how the Magpies played against Liverpool.
City get the vote but there could be a wobble
I'm siding with City so the trick is to try and find a way to back them at a palatable price. The answer is fairly straightforward: give Newcastle a goal.
From huge odds on in the basic win market, there's a massive leap to 3.211/5 for Man City to win and Both teams to Score.
I have a hunch that an away goal could come before City have a clear lead, in which case it will prove a real test of the home side's mettle and even the crowd's too.
But let's remember that Madrid was a freak and even if a couple of players remain affected, there's more than enough experience and quality in the City ranks to guide them through to victory.
Kevin de Bruyne was withdrawn after 72 minutes in Madrid so at least avoided the extra psychological damage of being on the pitch when the Real comeback materialised.
He's scored nine times in his last 16 Premier League appearances and nine of his 11 top-flight goals this season have come at home.
De Bruyne to score, Man City to win and BTTS pays 5.85/1 on the Sportsbook.
Newcastle have had 17 different players score a Premier League goal for them this season, with no side having more (excluding own goals). It's the Magpies' joint-most goalscorers they've had in a single Premier League campaign (level with 2019-20).