Real Madrid recorded their first ever win over Chelsea at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in their eighth meeting between the two teams as the Spanish side ran out the winners in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Karim Benzema’s strike, set up by a smart touch from Vinícius Júnior, and Marco Asensio’s second-half rocket after coming in off the bench set up the home team for a convincing win in the first 90 minutes of this tie.
Here are three stats that help to explain the game.
35: Champions League wins with the club for Carlo Ancelotti, more than any other coach
After 47 games in charge, Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti has become the coach with the most wins in the Champions League for Real Madrid as he reached 35 with this victory over Chelsea. For context, even serial winner Zinedine Zidane only managed 32 wins in the competition.
Overall in his career, it was win 107 in 188 Champions League games, coming almost 10 years after he picked up his first win as Real Madrid coach in the competition courtesy of a 6-1 win over Galatasaray in Turkey as part of the group stages of September 2013.
Among the few players to remain throughout that period is Karim Benzema, who scored two against Galatasaray and one against Chelsea. The others include Luka Modrić, who started in both games, and Nacho, who was an unused substitute across both matches.
He has lost only four matches as Real Madrid coach in the competition, including one on this very day, April 12th, a year ago as Chelsea secured a 3-2 win at the Bernabéu but still went out in the second leg of last season’s quarter-final. In addition, he has drawn eight matches, though the last was in 2015 with a 1-1 draw in the semi-final second leg against Juventus.
Even so, the highlight of Ancelotti’s night must be his incredible close control as he took the ball down on the touchline. If Florentino Pérez was watching, he may well have seen the talent of a potential superstar forward...
2 out of 3: Times that Chelsea have recovered from a 2-goal away deficit in the first leg
Despite what seems to be a convincing win for Real Madrid, this tie is not over yet. What is clear is that one trend is set to fall as both teams have strong records heading into a second leg after a 2-0 win for the home team in the first leg.
The last time Real Madrid lost such a tie was against Didier Deschamps’ AS Monaco in 2004, when Fernando Morientes was among the scorers for the French team in a 3-1 win to overcome a 4-2 win for Real Madrid in the first leg. Beyond that, you’d have to go back to German side Hamburg in 1980 or Swiss team Grasshopper in 1978 to find the last time a team pulled off such a comeback.
However, Chelsea’s record in such positions is such stronger. In 2012, Chelsea beat Napoli 4-1 at Stamford Bridge after a 3-1 defeat in Italy, while they also beat Paris Saint-Germain with a 2-2 draw in the second leg, having drawn 1-1 away in Paris, in 2014 to give them the win on away goals. Only once have they gone out when in such a position.
The other omen is that this tie ended in exactly the same result in the 2021 semi-final, when Chelsea won the semi-final first leg 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, but Real Madrid could not overturn it back in the Spanish capital and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. A similar result would do wonders for Real Madrid.
Given that the Blues have won only two of their last eight home fixtures in the Premier League in 2023, it would seem that such a comeback is unlikely. In fact, no team has scored fewer than their return of four goals in as many months. They’ll need almost that many in a single night if they are to overcome Real Madrid in the second leg.
2.74: Real Madrid’s xG per 90 at home in the Champions League in 2022/23
What has been particularly remarkable about Real Madrid’s form in Europe this season has been quite how many chances they have generated in front of goal. While 2.29 xG in a Champions League quarter-final first leg may sound impressive, it actually comes in third in the ranking of xG generated by Real Madrid in the competition this season.
With 20.66 xG in total this season, 2.95 per 90, Real Madrid are among the most dangerous teams in the tournament and their offensive game is showing as much given the number of chances which they are generating.
xG tonight:— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) April 12, 2023
Real Madrid: 2.14
Most ball progression via passes: Toni Kroos
Most ball progression via carries: Vinicius Jr
At home, only Manchester City have a better record than Real Madrid’s goal return with 3.2 xG per 90, and while the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu may not be as crucial in the first leg as it was last season in the second, it continues to be a decisive factor.
With 6.46 xG across the season so far in the Champions League, Vinícius Júnior ranks second across the competition. That is more or less aligned with his actual goals return of six so far, and by recording an assist for Karim Benzema, he notched up his sixth goal involvement in five games for Real Madrid.
On this occasion, Benzema himself reached 1.28 xG, matching his one goal, and he had an easy chance with his goal with 0.97 given the ease of the nature of his goal as he tapped the ball into an empty net.