So two giants of European football meet again as this year they face off in the quarter finals.
It’s the current holders who host the most successful team in Europe as well as one of their many former bosses in the first leg at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea beat Ligue 1 side Lille 4-1 on aggregate to make it to the quarters, as for Real Madrid they produced a thrilling comeback against PSG, courtesy of a superb Karim Benzema hattrick to claw them to this stage.
Chelsea currently hold 3rd position in the Premier League but after going on a 6 game win streak were pulled to pieces by a struggling Brentford side who put four past a whimpering Blues who thought they had the game after an Antonio Rudiger wonder strike, which he eventually pulled off after a number of attempts throughout the season. A very out of character performance from a team that had put all their off the field issues to the side during their winning run but it all seemed to fall apart on Saturday as Thomas Tuchel said his side simply “stopped defending” in the second half.
Real Madrid look to be cruising to the La Liga title after another victory, this time at Celta Vigo as Benzema helped himself to a brace of penalties. Those two goals for the Frenchman took his tally in the league to 24 this season, at 34 the striker is still at the peak of his powers which will concern Tuchel and his defenders especially after shipping four goals at home to Brentford. A small blip it may be described just before the international break as they were torn apart by their arch rivals Barcelona as they swept four goals past The Los Blancos without reply by a rejuvenated Barcelona side now controlled by one of their former legends, Xavi. This being said Real Madrid are still on track to reclaim the title after falling short to Atletico Madrid by two points last season.
These teams locked horns in this competition last season but was one stage further, the semi finals. The first leg ended 1-1 as Benzema cancelled out a Christian Pulisic goal in Madrid, a very tight game where either side could have taken an advantage into the second leg. But the second leg at Stamford Bridge was where the gap in quality was evident as Chelsea came out 2-0 winners on the night and 3-1 winners overall thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount, a game which could have easily seen The Blues win 4,5, or even 6-0 with better composure in front of goal. Chelsea then met Premier League rivals Manchester City in the final where they eventually lifted the trophy for a second time in their history.
In terms of team news of course for Chelsea they will remain without flying wing back Ben Chilwell who is set to remain side lined for the remainder of the season as well as Callum Hudson-Odoi who is now suffering with a back problem to add to his sore achilles. The rest of the Chelsea squad should be fit and available.
As for Real Madrid Eden Hazard will be denied a reunion with the Chelsea fans after continuing to being hampered with injuries this time after undergoing a fibular plate operation also Luka Jovic is a doubt due to an ankle issue. So as it stands both managers should have a large pool of players to pick from for this vital match.
Chelsea potential starting line up:
Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Sarr, Mount, Ziyech, Havertz
Real Madrid potential starting line up:
Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Junior