UEFA Champions League Semifinals Preview: Chelsea at Real Madrid.
The first leg of the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League begins on Tuesday, with Real Madrid hosting Chelsea at their Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on the CBS Sports Network at 3 PM ET.
Real Madrid advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League with their 3-1 aggregate score victory against Liverpool in the quarterfinals. Vinicius Junior scored twice, and Marco Asensio added a goal in their 3-1 win in the first leg at home on April 6th. A scoreless draw in the second match at Anfield Stadium in the second leg on April 14th secured their advancement.
Los Blancos come off a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis in their most recent match on Saturday. That result was their third draw in their last four games across all competitions. Manager Zinedine Zidane’s team is tied with Barcelona for second place in La Liga, four points behind Atletico Madrid, currently at the top of the table. Barca has a game in hand.
Zinedine will have Eden Hazard available for this match after he came on a substitute on Saturday. The former Chelsea forward has missed most of the season with an assortment of knocks. Center back Raphael Varone is also back after returning from COVID quarantine.
Real Madrid will be missing several players. Center back Sergio Ramos remains out with a calf injury, and left-back Ferland Mendy is dealing with a calf injury of his own. Midfielders Lucas Vazquez and Fede Valverde are also doubts after recent knocks.
Chelsea reached the semifinals with a 2-1 aggregate victory against FC Porto in the quarterfinals. The Blues won the first leg, 2-0, at Stamford Bridge on April 7th. Mason Mount scored the opening goal in the 32nd minute before Ben Chilwell added the second goal at the 85-minute mark. Chelsea lost the second leg at Porto, 1-0, on April 13th, but the Dragons' late goal was not enough to sudden death.
The Blues come off a 1-0 victory at West Ham United on Saturday. Timo Werner scored the lone goal after 43 minutes in the first half. The win broke a deadlock with the Hammers for fourth place in the English Premier League. Chelsea is a distant 19 points behind Manchester City for first place at the EPL table. They trail Leicester City by three points for third place.
Since Thomas Tuchel took over the managerial duties from Frank Lampard in late January, the Blues have only lost twice in 21 matches. The former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund skipper deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation that improved the defensive structure of this team. Sixteen of the games under Tuchel have been clean sheets. They advanced to the championship game of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory against Manchester City on April 17th.
Chelsea will be without midfielder Maceo Kovacic who is dealing with a thigh injury.
BookMaker lists Real Madrid as a -0.25 goal line favorite with the total set at 2.
Computer prediction: Real Madrid 1 Chelsea 0