Chelsea face Real Madrid tonight at 19:00 GMT for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium. Tonight’s contest will be the first time that Real Madrid and Chelsea lock horns in the European Cup. Both sides come into the game in an exceptional form.
Chelsea, two games from an eighth continental cup final, arrive in the Spanish capital having conceded just one goal in the past seven away from Stamford Bridge. They have tasted defeat just twice in their last 22 outings (W15, D5) and have recorded shutouts in their last three encounters. The Londoners have also won each of the last three Champions League matches against Spanish opposition this season. They won Sevilla on away in the group stage, and both legs of the Round of 16 against Real’s city rivals Atletico.
On the other hand, Zinedine Zidane’s men are on a 17-game unbeaten run (W12, D5), four of which involved clean sheets. They are looking to secure their 14th Champions League title. However, they will have to do it without a number of first team players due to injuries. Their left-back Ferland Mendy is out, and Captain Sergio Ramos remains unavailable. However, midfielder Toni Kroos is back after an injury.
Zidane expressed his view about Chelsea during a virtual press conference in the build up to mouthwatering clash.
“They’re a complete team, they attack and defend well. We have to defend well and create chances when we can to cause Chelsea some problems.”Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid Coach.
On his part, Tuchel tells his players to rely on their strengths and do the things that make them confident.
“We have these things as a team. The challenge is to be the best version of ourselves.”Tuchel, Chelsea’s Boss.
Key Match Statistics ahead of the Semi-Final Clash
Real Madrid have faced Chelsea more often than any other side in all competitions without winning in their entire history. They faced in the 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup final (1-1 first game, 2-1 to Chelsea in replay) and the 1998 UEFA Super Cup final (1-0 to Chelsea).
Tonight’s game will be the 163rd UEFA Champions League match between English and Spanish teams, the most of any two nations. English teams have won four of their last seven against Spanish opponents (D2 L1), twice as many as in their previous 20 against them (W2 D7 L11).
Chelsea are set to play in their eighth Champions League semi-final, the most of any English club. Meanwhile, tonight’s game is Real Madrid’s 14th semi-final- two more than any other side. Chelsea have only lost the first leg in one of their seven previous Champions League semi-finals (W2 D4), a 3-1 defeat to Monaco in 2003-04. Conversely, Real Madrid have won the first leg of nine of their last 10 Champions League knockout ties (L1), scoring at least two goals in eight of these games.
Zinedine Zidane and Thomas Tuchel are two of only 24 managers to have managed 15 or more Champions League matches in the knockout stages. Zidane has the joint-best win ratio (alongside Luis Enrique) of these managers (67%, P27 W18), while Chelsea’s boss Tuchel has the seventh-best percentage (53%, P15 W8).
Chelsea’s manager Thomas Tuchel has faced Real Madrid more often without losing in the Champions League than against any other opponent (W1 D3). In the competition’s history, the only other manager to face Los Blancos as many as four times without losing is Gerard Houllier (P4 W2 D2).
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