Last Updated on 17 Sep 2021 1:32 pm (UK Time)
Real Madrid Starting XI: Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Hazard, Vinicius, Benzema.
Chelsea Starting XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Christensen; Chilwell, Jorginho, Kante; Werner, Havertz, Mount.
All to Play For: Chelsea and Real Madrid Battle for Place in Champions League Final Against Man City
Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane looks to secure his team’s place in the Final in the hunt for his fourth Champions League trophy as a manager, whilst Thomas Tuchel endeavours to take his Chelsea side to their third Final – after only joining the London outfit in January.
They will meet for the fifth time in Europe tonight, with Chelsea unbeaten (W2 – D2) in the previous four. This will be the first time across the five meetings that Chelsea will host the Spanish giants at Stamford Bridge.
As it stands after the first-leg of this semi-final, it is all to play for tonight at Stamford Bridge. In Spain, Pulisic danced through the Madrid defence, sat Thibaut Courtois down, and passed the ball into the net to give the Blues the lead. The equaliser for Los Blancos came later in the first half through a reliable source; Karim Benzema. The talismanic Frenchman controlled the ball with his head in a busy penalty area and volleyed it into the goal to level things up at 1-1.
The winner of the tie will advance to face Manchester City in the final, who secured their place last night with a 4-1 aggregate victory against PSG.
How They Both Got Here:
Chelsea progressed from the previous round with a 2-1 win on aggregate against Porto. Two away goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chillwell in the first leg were enough to put them through – despite the rallying efforts of their Portuguese opponents in the second leg.
Real Madrid fended off reigning English champions Liverpool in the last stage, winning 3-1 in the first-leg (and on aggregate) thanks to two goals from Vinicius Junior and one from Marco Asensio.
Chelsea Team News:
Former Real Madrid player, Mateo Kovacic, remains unavailable after picking up an injury in the previous round. Other than this notable absence, the rest of the Chelsea side seems to be fit.
Antonio Rudiger returns after a facial injury – and will wear a protective mask if he plays – as he was not selected for domestic duty at the weekend (a 2-0 win against Fulham). Kai Havertz was left out of the first leg in Madrid, but after scoring both goals against Fulham at the weekend he could find himself in the starting lineup tonight.
Mason Mount could be poised to shine for the English representatives’ thanks to his good form in the league, and after scoring his first Champions League goal against Porto in the previous round.
Real Madrid Team News:
Uruguayan midfielder, Federico Valverde, returns to the squad after his positive Covid-19 result. Brazilian-veteran Marcelo has also travelled with the squad to London – his availability was in doubt when he was chosen for election duty in Madrid.
Other team news comes from the Spaniards’ defence, as World Cup winning centre-back Raphael Varane will be unavailable after sustaining a right abductor injury in the league on Saturday (as Madrid triumphed 2-0 over Osasuna). Right-back Dani Carvajal has also been ruled out after injuring his hamstring in the first-leg last week. In positive news for Real; Captain Sergio Ramos returns to the squad – he last played for Spain at the end of March.
After failing to make an impact as a substitute in the first-leg, ex-Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard will look to shatter his former teammates’ hopes of making it an all-English final in Turkey on the 29th of May. The Belgian superstar has struggled to find his form in Spain, with only 7 G/A in 27 domestic appearances for Madrid since he joined, and only 1 goal in his last 10 Champions League appearances.