Date: Wednesday 5th May 2021
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Every media outlet might have you believe City won the Champions League last night but actually, there’s a bit more work to be done in the competition yet and after doing what was required of us in a professional 2-0 win against Fulham in the Premier League at the weekend, we’re back in Champions League action tonight for the second leg of our semi-final against Real Madrid.
Our opponents also had a 2-0 win in La Liga at the weekend, against Osasuna and we start this leg with a goal apiece, so on paper, you’d think there’s nothing to split us. We all know we don’t play on paper though, and the reality is, with 16 European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals under their belts already, this is Real Madrid’s playground, we just want a go on the rides.
Real Madrid come into this game on a 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions, six unbeaten in the Champions League and the last three times Zidane has overseen a Champions League semi-final, his side have progressed.
We more than matched them in the first leg and really should have beaten them, the story of our season though, is that we just don’t take our chances and we could end up paying the ultimate price for that. We certainly paid for it in the first leg, with Benzema showing exactly what they can do if our defence take their eye off the game for a second, and with an away record better than our home one defensively, that’s a cause for concern, particularly if Tuchel decides to attempt a 90-minute shut-out.
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel, says “The challenge will be to keep the intensity going throughout the whole match. The pressure’s on. It’s the second leg, the decisive one, so to arrive with a certain level of belief and self-confidence is absolutely necessary. Otherwise we have no chance against a team like Real Madrid. It does not help so much if your coach is talking about it. We need to really feel it. If I talk about it it’s only because I’m sure they feel it and we can see it in the games – that the team are able to produce performances. They are aware of the challenge.
The club demands that we win any game, no matter who’s on the other side of the pitch. This is what sharpens the mentality and this is our big strength: that we arrive as a team that is used to this pressure. This is a good pressure because if you make things too big then it helps nobody and it devalues your performance in any other game. We have no other way to prepare than to encourage my team to try to win. If we are at our best then it’s a no-brainer that we go for the win. This club is about winning. This game is about winning, this competition is about winning. Forget the first-leg result; it’s not as important as everyone thinks. It’s got zero importance in preparation for this match. We will demand from them to be as strong as possible from tomorrow from 8pm. The group has one goal: to overcome Real Madrid.”
Real Madridmanager, Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, says “I have a good feeling. We are pleased to be here in this game and we know what game to expect. We know what we have to do and we will give everything we have. We are here because of hard work, believing in what we do and nothing else. There are no miracles in football. We have to play our game, it is a 90 minute game, maybe more. We are well prepared. We are in a CL semi-final; you don’t play them every day. My players are well prepared to perform. We need to perform well. Physically we need to give everything we have. You have to dig in out there. That happened to us in the first leg and tomorrow will be the same. What I am worried about is what we do with the ball. The team is ready. Tomorrow is a new match, completely different. We need to prepare well physically and it is also about stopping their strengths, They have quality of course.”
For Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic remains out but Antonio Rudiger returns.
For Real Madrid, Varane (abductor) and Carvajal (hamstring) are out. Sergio Ramos and Valverde (Covid) return, whilst Marcelo has also travelled despite being chosen to work at a Madrid polling station as part of local elections.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Silva, Rudiger, Christensen; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Mount, Pulisic, Havertz
REAL MADRID (Possible line-up): Courtois; Odriozola, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
CURRENT FORM (CL)
REAL MADRID: WWWWDD
- This will be the first time Chelsea have faced Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge
- This is the fifth time Chelsea have faced Real Madrid in European competition
- Chelsea are unbeaten against Real Madrid in the previous four meetings.
- Real Madrid are without a win in their last four away games against English sides in the Champions League
- Chelsea have progressed from five of their last seven knockout ties in the UEFA Champions League when avoiding defeat away from home in the first leg.
- Chelsea were eliminated in their last semi-final appearance in the competition, v Atlético (2013-14).
- Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is looking to secure his fourth progression in four UEFA Champions League semi-final ties
- Chelsea are aiming to reach their third UEFA Champions League final.
- Real Madrid have been in 16 European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-1 Real Madrid