Chelsea wary of experienced Madrid in ‘Battle of the Bridge’
There is everything to play for between former European champions Chelsea and Real Madrid as they head into the return leg of their Champions League semi-final tie all square following a 1-1 first-leg draw in Spain. You can watch this and other Champions League games live online.
Christian Pulisic broke the deadlock at the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium inside the first 14 minutes before Madrid stalwart Karim Benzema hammered home an all-important equaliser.
Timo Werner will hope his epic first-half miss in Madrid won’t come back to haunt his side at Stamford Bridge as they seek their first Champions League final since 2011/12.
However, Thomas Tuchel’s lightning-fast attacking line showed they have all it takes to bypass Zinedine Zidane’s ageing side, though a more clinical finishing will be required this time around.
Having qualified for their 14th UEFA semi-finals, Chelsea will look to balance their overall record at this stage of major European competitions (W6, L7).
Worryingly, though, the Blues have picked up just three victories in their last nine European fixtures at Stamford Bridge (D4, L2), with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals halting Chelsea’s run of five European home meetings with Spanish visitors (D3, L2).
That victory in London remains one of the Premier League giants’ three triumphs across their last seven home knock-out encounters with Spanish clubs at home (D3, L2).
Additionally, a 3-0 aggregate success against Real’s cross-town rivals has slightly improved Chelsea’s record in two-legged knock-out ties versus La Liga opponents as it now reads W5, L7.
On the bright side, current Pensioners boss Tuchel has yet to lose a match against Spanish teams as a manager (W3, D4).
Real Madrid Preview
Los Blancos have reached the Champions League semi-finals for a record-breaking 14th time, having won each of their last three such ties.
However, reigning La Liga champions and 13-time Champions League winners have suffered elimination in seven of the nine Champions League ties in which they drew the first leg at home.
Zidane’s men have lost two of their last three Champions League trips to England, with a bore draw with Liverpool in this season’s quarter-finals solitary exception in this run.
A 3-0 aggregate victory against the Reds made it four successes in the last five two-legged ties against Premier League clubs for Madrid (L1), with their overall record in such contests standing at W9, L5.
Ahead of the kick-off, Los Merengues have racked up a nine-match unbeaten away streak in all competitions (W6, D3), keeping a clean sheet in their last three competitive road trips.
Out: Mateo Kovacic.
Out: Lucas Vazquez, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane.
Doubts: Federico Valverde, Ferland Mendy.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Edouard Mendy; Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen; Cesar Azpilicueta, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho; Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Nacho, Casemiro, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola; Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco; Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema.