Real Madrid and Chelsea meet for the fourth time in European competition as the two clubs are set to face off in the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.
These two clubs last met on the European stage at the 1998 UEFA Super Cup Final. Real have never beaten Chelsea in one of these competitions losing 1-0 in that final matchup. Chelsea is the club that Real has faced more than any other club without winning across all competitions.
There’s a lot of winning history between both sides as this is Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League semi-final, which is two more than any other European club. This will be Chelsea’s eighth semi-final, which is the most of any English club.
Real Madrid are second in La Liga, tied on points with Barcelona and two points trailing league-leading Atletico Madrid. Real have drawn two and won three of their last five league matches.
Since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as manager, replacing Frank Lampard in January, Chelsea have been playing much football and are sitting in the fourth Champions League spot in the Premier League. However, they’ve been streaky in their last five matches only winning two of those last five.
Real Madrid gained another player back to the squad in Toni Kroos. The club will still be without Sergio Ramos, Fede Valverde, Ferland Mendy and Lucas Vazquez for this match.
Chelsea will be without former Real midfielder Mateo Kovacic due to a thigh injury.
There are no suspensions for either club in this first leg of the semi-final.
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Varane, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Vinicius, Benzema
It will be interesting to see if Zidane goes with the same backline he did against Real Betis with Mendy out over the weekend. Nacho started at left back instead of Marcelo. They will be tasked with aiding former Chelsea netminder Thibaut Courtois.
With Kroos returning, the midfield trio will likely go back to its usual trio.
Zidane will also have a decision to make regarding Eden Hazard. He came off the bench against Betis, but will he get the start against his former club on Tuesday? If so, that means Vinicius will likely come off the bench.
Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Mount, Werner
Real Madrid—Chelsea 1-0
This first leg is one of the most important matches of the season. This semi-final is what separates one of these two clubs from a trip to Istanbul for the Champions League Final.
At home, Real cannot afford to concede much, if at all, to a very tough opponent in Chelsea. This is the time of the season where any concession or mistake could cost you the European season.
Real Madrid would love to have captain Sergio Ramos available for a match of this caliber, but they must make do as they’ve had to the last few months without him. Real has shown there’s still enough quality on this squad to compete for both domestic and European titles in light of hefty injuries.
This will be a fun, but highly stressful match against a formidable opponent. Real must turn around their European favor against a Chelsea side that they have never defeated.