Chelsea looked dignified in their away visit at Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, proving that they belong at the highest level of European football under Thomas Tuchel’s management.
The Blues secured an important away goal in their 1-1 draw against the 13-times European champions in Madrid, which gave Tuchel’s side a small edge ahead of Wednesday’s second leg in London. Chelsea had a solid game earlier this weekend with a 2-0 win over Fulham. Real Madrid, too, picked a win over Osasuna with the same scoreline as their midweek opponents, while figuring to give rest to some key players ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge.
The winner of the two will play against Manchester City later this month in Istanbul, with City making their maiden appearance in the Champions League final.
“The main lesson is that we can trust ourselves and we have the right to be in the semifinal,” Tuchel said in a news conference. “We deserve to be there. It’s the second leg, the decisive one, so to arrive with a certain level of belief and self-confidence is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we have no chance against a team like Real Madrid.” – Source: Sportstar, the Hindu
He added that the biggest challenge for his team was to forget the first-leg scoreline.
“The challenge is always over two games, you play the first game and then you start at 0-0 again,” he said. “I don’t know any other way to prepare a match than to encourage my team to go out and try to win.”
Tuchel thinks that Ramos’s return changes a lot of things for the Real Madrid side as he solidifies their defense and is their captain above all, adding,
“We cannot lose our heads about this decision. We should be self-confident and have no fear to face this challenge.”
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic will be missing the game against his former club with a hamstring injury, while Rudiger, who missed the game against Fulham with a facial injury is available and will have to wear a protective face-mask if he’s in the squad, Tuchel confirmed ahead of the game.
Real Madrid have their injury concerns over Raphael Varane who picked out an injury this weekend and is out for 10 days. He joins Dani Carvajal and Lucan Vazquez on the sidelines who are out for the rest of the season.
Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos is fully fit and is expected to feature at Stamford Bridge giving Zidane’s side a big boost. Also, Ferland Mendy is back to fitness with Frederico Valverde recovering from coronavirus and are part of the traveling squad.
Chelsea’s possible starting line-up:
Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Werner
Real Madrid’s possible starting line up:
Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Hazard
Prediction for the game:
Chelsea 2-1 Real Madrid
Image Credit- Sergio Ramos Twitter