A Chelsea’s away goal is the only slender advantage that gives the London club an upper hand going into tonight’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
The two sides drew 1-1 in the Spanish capital a week ago, with Karim Benzema cancelling out Christian Pulisic’s opener.
While Chelsea were the better side for much of that game, Madrid’s Champions League know-how kept them in the tie and fine margins seem destined to decide who joins Manchester City in the final in Istanbul later this month.
Zinedine Zidane is keeping everyone guessing as to whether Sergio Ramos will start tonight – but it is impossible to imagine Real leaving out their talisman.
ThomasTuchel hinted the best way to handle the centre back is to deny him a striker to battle with. That could point to a false No9 in the form of Kai Havertz to drag Real’s defence out of shape.
N’Golo Kante was awesome in the first leg and Chelsea will need more of the same from their midfield powerhouse to ensure Real do not dominate the game.
“I’ve been dreaming about this player, fighting for this player, at any club I was coaching,” said Tuchel. “He’s won every trophy except the Champions League. Hopefully, he will do everything that he can to help us get this trophy.”
Former Chelsea hero Eden Hazard is back at the Bridge and after starting LaLiga at the weekend, looks set to be thrown straight into the action.
Chelsea knows only too well what he can produce when at his best – the problem for Real is that he has rarely looked in peak condition since joining them.
The danger for Tuchel’s team is that they get too caught up with stopping Hazard, allowing the likes of Benzema to pounce.