Onto the second leg of the Champions League tie between Chelsea and Real Madrid. Chelsea will battle it out at Stamford Bridge against Real Madrid on Thursday at 12:30 am IST. They have an away goal advantage after their 1-1 result against Real Madrid in the first leg. Christian Pulisic scored for the Blues, though Karim Benzema later levelled with his acrobatic volley.
Both the clubs won 2-0 in their respective leagues midweek. Chelsea had a match against 17th positioned Fulham. They are still in the race for the top four, thanks to a Kai Havertz brace. Real Madrid remains two points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid after late goals from Eder Militao and Casemiro sealed their victory over Osasuna.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Preview
We saw a glimpse of the action between the two teams, with Chelsea dominating in the first half of the first leg. Zidane tinkering with his team formation in the second half to handle the threat of the piercing runs in their midfield made by N’Golo Kante.
Tuchel’s record against the french manager still remains intact. He still has not been beaten by Zidane, though this time Zidane would have a fit Eden Hazard who would be playing against the club he called his home.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Team news:
Chelsea’s form: W-D-W-D-W
Real Madrid’s form: W-D-D-W-D
Tuchel should stick to his 3-5-2 formation which he used recently against Fulham. A backline of club captain Azpiliceuta, Christensen, Thiago silva, Rudiger and Ben Chilwell could be in place against the Los Blancos. After Kante and Jorginho were given a rest against Fulham, they could be in contention to be back in the lineup. Mason Mount would start which is a no-brainer given the form the England international is in. What remains to be seen is who would start in the front. Possible combinations are Pulisic-Havertz, Havertz-Werner, Pulisic-Werner.
Injured: Mateo Kovacic
Zidane’s choices are limited as compared to his competition who boasts a wealth of attackers and defenders (and keepers) at their disposal. Real should start with four at the back. Sergio Ramos is back to fight against the Blues which should ease Zidane’s pain.
He will be standing alongside Nacho Fernandez, Eder Militao and Marcelo who have been in sensational form recently and deserve to start. In the midfield, the french coach would depend on Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Modric who’s won him three UCL titles. In attack, we should see former Chelsea player Eden Hazard start alongside Karim Benzema and Asensio. If Zidane decides for three at the back, Alvaro Odriozola is expected to start on the right with Marcelo seems to be the man picked on the opposite end.
Ferland Mendy has returned from injury but starting him will be a massive risk in their attempt to win La Liga.
Predicted Line-ups and Score:
Chelsea’s predicted starting lineup(3-4-2-1): Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount; Pulisic, Havertz
Real Madrid’s predicted starting lineup(4-3-3): Courtois; Ramos, Militao, Nacho, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Hazard, Benzema, Asensio
Chelsea 1-0 Real Madrid
With Chelsea’s squad depth, their form and Tuchel’s record against Zidane, odds favour the Blues.