UEFA Champions League semifinals begin Tuesday in Spain as Real Madrid welcome Chelsea for their first
leg. Los Blancos enter the match as the favorites due to their fine form in the competition, seeing off Liverpool in the quarterfinals. The Blues, meanwhile, are flying high under Thomas Tuchel with a defense that records cleansheets more often than not. Chelsea haven’t conceded a goal in their last three matches.
Real Madrid: A poor result in La Liga on Saturday, a 0-0 draw with Real Betis, might be a cause for concern. This attack scored a goal in 17 straight games from early January to mid April. But they failed to score in three of their last four games, which is a concern as they came across some poor defenses like Real Betis and Liverpool. But when you look a bit deeper, the chances have been there. If the team can clean it up a bit in attack, they should be fine in this first leg, but Karim Benzema has to stay high and not drop back as much. Expect him to do so, with Chelsea’s compact backline looking to not let anything behind them.
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Chelsea: The Blues are looking healthy and got a big goal from Timo Werner last weekend that should help his confidence. While the team hasn’t deployed a true No. 9 lately, their speed and technical ability could give Real Madrid some problems. Expect the Blues to keep the ball on the ground and keep passes quick and short against this Real defense as they likely won’t get much in the air in attack.
A penalty kick gets Los Blancos the slim edge ahead of next week’s second leg with Karim Benzema scoring. Pick: Real Madrid 1, Chelsea 0
When is it?
The match kicks off at 8:00pm GMT on Wednesday 5 May
How can I watch?
The fixture will be shown live on BT Sport 2, with coverage starting from 7:00pm GMT. Subscribers can also watch live on the BT Sport app and website.
What is the team news?
Antonio Rudiger could return to the side after missing Saturday’s match against Fulham due to injury, but Matteo Kovacic is unlikely to be available after missing the past six matches with a thigh problem. Tuchel was hopeful the midfielder could return but revealed he had suffered a set-back before the Fulham match, so the Croatian is a major doubt to face his former side.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos could make his return from a calf injury that has ruled him out since the international break last month, in what would be a major boost to Zidane’s side. Left back Ferland Mendy could be available after missing the first leg due to injury, and could replace Marcelo, who is set to be absent due to election duty in Madrid. Defender Raphael Varane has been ruled out after picking up a thigh injury against Osasuna on Saturday, joining Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez on the sidelines.
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Chilwell; Kante, Jorginho, Mount; Pulisic, Werner
Real Madrid: Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Real Madrid: 5/2
Chelsea won’t be awed by the challenge of defeating the 13-time champions after dominating them in the first leg. If the English side can take their chances, they should progress. Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid