Real Madrid go to Chelsea feeling the heat in the second leg of their Uefa Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
Los Blancos will step out at the Stamford Bridge home of the English Premier League side knowing they’ll need at least a goal, having been held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg on home turf.
It could have been even more of a predicament for the serial European champions, who fell behind in the 14th minute against the English side a week ago.
Christian Pulisic opened the scoring at the Bernabeu after Timo Werner had earlier inexplicably picked out keeper Thibaut Courtois with the goal at his mercy.
Karim Benzema, who had already clipped the woodwork, pulled the heavyweights level just before the half hour mark with a classy volley.
And so it remained, giving the EPL club that won the competition in 2012 the edge against their illustrious Spanish opponents.
A place in the final awaits against the winners of the tie between Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain, representing a mouthwatering prospect for two clubs that attempted to join the botched breakaway European Super League.
With that grim prospect having faded for now, this one will be settled exactly where it should be – not in the boardroom but on the pitch.
Eden Hazard is far from certain to face his former club, with the Belgian forward struggling for form on his injury comeback.
Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal are both missing through injury for Zidane’s side, who may also have to make do without Ferland Mendy and club legend Sergio Ramos in London.
Marcelo faces an admin nightmare to fit in with Covid-19 regulations, after he was summoned to man a local election polling station in Madrid. Yes, really.
Mateo Kovacic continues to be the only major absentee for the home side, who could welcome back the hefty presence of Antonio Rudiger in defence.
Kai Havertz is jostling for a place in the mix up front along with Pulisic and Werner.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Prediction
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid: UCL starting XI prediction
Probable Chelsea Starting XI: Edouard Mendy, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic.
Probable Real Madrid Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois, Alvaro Odriozola, Eder Militao, Raphael Varane, Nacho, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
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