A place in the finals of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League will be on the line when Chelsea play hosts to Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge this midweek.
We are in the penultimate stages of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League and the second leg of the second semi-final will be played out tonight at Stamford Bridge as Premier League bigwigs Chelsea take on La Liga champions Real Madrid in a blockbuster encounter.
first leg, played last week at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, ended in a 1-1 draw with Karim Benzema cancelling out Christian Pulisic’s early strike.
The result gives Chelsea the edge due to the away-goal rule heading into Wednesday’s fixture and a goalless draw will be enough for them to cruise through to the finals.
So, the onus will be on Real Madrid to take the game to their hosts and come out on top if they are to stay alive in the competition.
As far as preparations for the heavyweight clash goes, Chelsea warmed up in a fine fashion securing a solid 2-0 win over local rivals Fulham in the Premier League this past weekend.
Real Madrid, too, picked up a victory over CA Osasuna by the same scoreline as their midweek opponents while also managing to rest some of their key players ahead of the trip to west London.
The winner will set up a date against either Manchester City in Istanbul later this month.
Chelsea will once again be without the services of midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who will sit out against his former club due to a thigh injury.
Antonio Rudiger, who missed the weekend win against Fulham, with a facial injury, is available for selection and should be able to play with mask on, Thomas Tuchel confirmed ahead of the game.
Tuchel is expected to make a few changes to the team that took the field against Fulham.
No alteration is expected between the sticks though, with Edouard Mendy continuing in goal after a brilliant display at the weekend.
Rudiger ought to return to the side, slotting in as the left-sided centre-back in place of Kurt Zouma. Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva ought to hold on to their places.
skipper Cesar Azpilicueta should also return to the side, slotting in at right wing-back at the expense of Reece James while Ben Chilwell continues on the opposite side.
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho were both rested for the weekend clash and should walk back into the starting XI, starting in the middle of the park, from where they will look to cut out the influence of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
Mason Mount, who has been Chelsea’s in-form man, should hold on to his place as one of the two attacking midfielders while Christian Pulisic ought to return after not being involved in the league game.
Timo Werner had a good outing against Fulham but Kai Havertz, who starred with a match-winning brace, ought to line up as the centre-forward for Chelsea against Real Madrid.
Predicted Lineup (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz