This is the first time in 7 years Chelsea are in the Champions League semi-finals. To reach their first final since 2012, they’re up against a historic club in Real Madrid. Real Madrid by contrast are looking to win their 5th title in 7 years.
The tie is delicately balanced following the 1-1 result in Madrid last week. A win for either team tonight will take them to the final while a goalless draw will be enough to see Chelsea make the final. They however face a Madrid side that welcomes Sergio Ramos, Hazard, Mendy & Valverde back to the side following injuries.
Zidane and Real Madrid have had an eventful season. They were staring down a relegation to the Europa League in December. However, a change in fortune has seen them fighting for a potential double this season. They are only 2 points behind table toppers Atletico in the La Liga race and a win tonight takes them to the UCL Final. It would be a fulfilling end to a season that has seen Los Blancos record more than 50 injuries.
Zidane’s team will be buoyed by the return of several key players who were unavailable for the first leg. One of such key players is their captain Sergio Ramos who is formidable at both ends of the pitch. They were also able to rest midfield duo of Modric and Kroos during the weekend. Left back Ferland Mendy is also back. A near full-strength Real Madrid team will be hard for any team in Europe to beat.
Ever since Thomas Tuchel was appointed Chelsea manager, Chelsea have been a very different team. They’ve gone from being vulnerable defensively to becoming one of the strongest defences in Europe. They have the highest clean sheets in the Champions League this season and are tough to break down. They have also improved in attack and are creative going forward. In fact, if they had taken their chances in the first leg, they could have been ahead on aggregate.
The German tactician has been able to transform the forms of players like Rudiger, Havertz and Timo Werner in recent weeks. Players like Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic have also become crucial with brilliant performances. Tuchel will also be keen to reach his second successive Champions League final in 2 years having done so with PSG last season.
Chelsea are still unbeaten in European games against Madrid but will need to show togetherness especially with Madrid’s recent returnees. Eden Hazard has struggled with injuries since joining the Real Madrid. However the Belgian will want to justify his price tag & hurt his former team at his former home. The winner will face Manchester City in the final on May 29 in Istanbul.
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