It does not take the mathematical mind of a Pascal or an Einstein to work out the odds are stacked high against Chelsea reaching the Champions League final.
They face arguably the best club football team the world has ever seen in Barcelona over two semi-final legs.
They face, by general consensus, the best footballer on the planet in Lionel Messi, a man who has scored 58 goals in 49 appearances so far this season, including 14 in nine Champions League matches.
They face football's most potent midfield partnership in Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the heart of a team whose work ethic matches their undeniable magic.
Faced with that little lot, Chelsea could do with all the help they could get.
Which is where the Football Association come in, or to be more accurate, don't come in.
The FA, in their wisdom, have decided it is a good idea to schedule Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley at 6pm on Sunday, April 15.
With the possibility of the match going to extra-time and penalties and finishing around 9pm that means there is every chance Chelsea will have less than 72 hours to recover before taking the field in the first leg against Barcelona on April 18.
Less than 72 hours to recover from what could be their most physically draining encounter of the season, a London cup derby with all its tension and emotion.
That is footballing madness, especially when you consider that the other FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Everton, two teams without the burden of European involvement, is being played at lunchtime the day before.
No one would suggest Liverpool should play on the Sunday. That is the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and Liverpool have been exempt from playing on that date ever since.
Yet you have to wonder how football's organisers could not have arrived at a better solution. Insisting the London derby was a lunchtime fixture, too, perhaps. Or, here's a thought, why not play on a Friday night? After all, it is not as if Chelsea and Tottenham fans have a 400-mile return journey like their Merseyside counterparts.
Could organisers not have anticipated that Chelsea would beat Benfica in the quarter-final? Do they not see that helping English clubs in Europe and promoting the English brand is one of their duties as guardians of the domestic game?
Or do they just roll over and tug their forelocks when television bosses call their scheduling meetings?
Chelsea v Barcelona, regardless of the fact that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho makes the Spaniards "super-favourites", could yet turn into an epic encounter.
It has all the ingredients. An interim manager in Roberto Di Matteo desperate to prove he is the man for the job. An ageing set of Chelsea players determined to show they are not past their sell-by-date. A captain in John Terry capable of ratcheting up the passion and desire in those around him, cracked ribs notwithstanding.
In 2009, remember, Barcelona went through only on away goals, drawing 1-1 at Stamford Bridge when Iniesta scored in added time in a match during which Chelsea were denied several clear penalty claims.
Semi-finals invariably are tight and tense. That is why, regardless of how high the odds against are stacked and regardless of how unfair the scheduling appears, Chelsea still have a chance of reaching the final in Munich.
A final which could yet see Bayern Munich, who play Real Madrid in the other semi, gracing their own Allianz Arena.
Which brings us back to the ineptitude of football's organisers. How can that be right? Why should one team have the advantage of playing on their own ground for the greatest prize in European football?
Why cannot UEFA wait until the semi-finalists are known before announcing the final venue, giving them more than six weeks to organise it from a pre-determined shortlist?
That, of course, would require balancing a bit of flexible planning with a sense of fair play.
When it comes to that equation football organisers are no Einsteins. Too often, as in the case of Chelsea, they come up with the square root of diddley squat.
Frank Malley, Press Association
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