Sport

Chelsea v Real Madrid: Visitors boosted by Sergio Ramos return

Chelsea v Real Madrid: Visitors boosted by Sergio Ramos return thumbnail
Sergio Ramos watched the semi-final first leg from the stands

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is fit to face Chelsea in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg.

Ramos, 35, has not featured since picking up a calf injury in March.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane said: “We’ve got our leader and our captain with us. I won’t be taking any risks. Sergio is here with us. That means that he’s ready to play, that’s all it means.”

Los Blancos are chasing a 14th Champions League title and their first final appearance since 2018.

For Chelsea, defender Antonio Rudiger is in contention but will have to wear a protective mask.

The centre-back, 28, missed Saturday’s win over Fulham after picking up a late injury in the 1-1 draw in Madrid.

Midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, but the Blues otherwise have a fully-fit squad as they look to reach their first Champions League final since 2012.

Boss Thomas Tuchel says his players must believe in themselves if they are to beat a Madrid side who are winless in their last four away games against English sides in the Champions League.

“We felt we can be stronger. The challenge is to keep the intensity going through the whole match,” he said.

“It is a semi-final, the pressure is on, a knockout game so to arrive with a level of belief and confidence is necessary or we will have no chance against a team like Real Madrid.

“I never felt we had a holy grail to reach the final, or winning the Champions League is the only target. I have a strong feeling that every win counts, the club demands it that we win any game, no matter who is on the other side of the pitch.”

Chelsea have 15% chance of winning the Champions League

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Nielsen’s Gracenote: “Chelsea are still the underdogs to reach the Champions League final. This is due to a combination of Real Madrid’s higher ranking (fourth as opposed to Chelsea’s ninth) on our Euro Club Index (www.euroclubindex.com) and reduced home advantage for the Blues because of the lack of spectators at Stamford Bridge for the second leg.

“Chelsea’s chance of eliminating Real Madrid and reaching the final is estimated at 44%, up from the 37% chance they had before the first leg. Chelsea’s chance of winning the Champions League remains at 15%.”

Chelsea aiming for first Champions League final since 2012 – the stats

  • Chelsea will face Real Madrid for the fifth time in European competition and are unbeaten against them in the previous four (W2 D2). This will be the first time across the five meetings that Chelsea have hosted the Spanish side.
  • Chelsea have progressed from five of their past seven knockout ties in the Champions League when avoiding defeat away from home in the first leg. However, one of these two eliminations came in their last semi-final appearance in the competition, v Atletico Madrid in 2013-14 (0-0 in first leg, 3-1 defeat in second leg).
  • Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is looking to secure his fourth progression in four Champions League semi-finals, which would equal the record for most semi-final progressions by a manager in competition history (along with Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Marcello Lippi).
  • Real Madrid could seal their place in a 17th European Cup/Champions League final, with their current total of 16 already being the most of any team. Progression here would set up Zinedine Zidane’s fourth Champions League final in charge of Real.
  • Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has only lost four of his 18 home games as a manager in the Champions League (W12 D2), with his sides scoring 48 goals across these fixtures – an average of 2.7 per game.
  • Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has scored 71 goals in the Champions League and could become the outright fourth top scorer in the competition’s history if he scores in this game, overtaking Raul (71).

Leave a Comment