Date: Tuesday 12th April 2022
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Life is many things as a Chelsea supporter, but it is never dull nor predictable.
Who could have predicted the battering we took from Brentford? Or the thumping we gave Southampton at the weekend? Being beaten by Real Madrid last Wednesday may not have been predictable either, although was probably less of a surprise for some of us. Mendy making dodgy passes halfway up the field with Benzema pressing our defence was the real surprise – and as it turned out, it was also what has left us going into tonight’s quarter final second leg at the Bernabeu with what looks like an impossible task.
Of course, even before Mendy went walkabouts in the first leg, two quality headers had already left us a massive amount to do but Kai Havertz gave us a bit of hope to halve the deficit. Benzema wasn’t going to turn down the chance of back-to-back Champions League hattricks though, especially when it came gift wrapped, so here we are.
Real Madrid come into tonight’s game off the back of a 2-0 win over Getafe, to make it eight wins from nine in all competitions, and after breaking a five-game winless run against us in last week’s game at Stamford Bridge, they’ll feel pretty confident of repeating it at home. Chelsea responded to last week’s loss and the previous defeat to Brentford, in the best way possible on Saturday, with a 6-0 win against Southampton, but whilst it was great and we were great, Southampton aren’t close to a yardstick for tonight’s opponents.
We need goals and whilst we scored them in abundance at the weekend, Real Madrid showed a distinct lack of benevolence in defence in the first leg. Obviously, we’ll have to look harder for them tonight and even in the unlikely event we manage to do what no other English side has done and find a way through more than once, given our more generous defence conceded 7 in the two games before the weekend, I can’t see us shutting Benzema out.
Going into today’s game, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, says “[The victory in the first leg] can be a dangerous result if we think most of the work is done. We made a lot in the first leg and we must do the same tomorrow. We played well in the first half, we must do the same in the second half. Chelsea are coming to fight and qualify. They know very well that it is difficult but they are going to try, that is the spirit of football, of big clubs that never give up. We have a lot of respect for Chelsea because they have so much quality and the only way to prepare this game is to expect a Chelsea that will be better than the one we saw last week. We know we will have to suffer in order to get through, but we are ready to suffer. This group of players will not be complacent. They are happy to be playing this game because it’s another great chance to play a semi-final.
Chelsea are still a very strong team. We would like to play the same game as the first leg but we have to be aware that Chelsea will try to play a different game. If we have to play a different game too to match that then we will. I said at the start of the season that we could compete in this competition. We have the personality and the experience to do it.”
Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “We need nothing else than a fantastic script if we want to be able to overcome this. The challenge is incredibly high given the circumstances of the first leg and where we play and against whom we play. It’s always allowed to dream and it is sometimes important to imagine things and to dream about it, but it will not shift the focus from the fact that we need to deliver and be ready. It’s worth trying in sports. It’s a beauty of the game that everything is possible always. We will try everything and from there we see. Hopefully belief grows within the match by our actions and hopefully we can fulfil our dream. But realistically we have to invest a lot and be at our very top level.
What chance do we have? Not the biggest chance, given the first game’s result, given the competition, the opponent and the stadium we play in. But we’ve never managed our input and our effort and our belief by the chances we have for a result. We have never done that and we will not start now.”
For Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (ankle), Isco (back) and Jesus Vallejo (illness), all miss out through injury, Luka Jovic (muscle) is a doubt and Eder Militao is suspended.
For Chelsea, Ben Chilwell (knee), remains our long-term absentee, Ross Barkley (illness), Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi (both Achilles) but Cesar Azpilicueta (covid) is available again.
REAL MADRID (Possible line-up): Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, James; Kovacic; Jorginho, Alonso, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz
CURRENT FORM (ALL)
REAL MADRID: WWLWWW
- Real Madrid have failed to make it through in the Champions League when winning the first leg away from home just once in 10 previous occasions
- Real Madrid have scored at least two goals in each of their last three Champions League wins at home
- Chelsea have won seven away from home in all competitions
- Chelsea have only failed to score in one of their last 15 Champions League games away
- No English team has ever won at the Bernabeu by at least two goals.
Sportsmole: Real Madrid 2-2 Chelsea (Real Madrid 5-3 agg)