Chelsea: Tuchel tells goal-shy Werner to keep calm
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Zinedine Zidane’s task of guiding Real Madrid to yet another Champions League title looks to have got even harder after Los Blancos will travel to Chelsea on Wednesday without a host of integral players.
The tie is still firmly in the balance after the first leg ended 1-1 in Spain, though Karim Benzema quickly responded to Christian Pulisic’s opener, the American international’s goal means Real Madrid will HAVE to score to stand any chance of progressing.
However, Chelsea will not be going into the contest over-confident, Thomas Tuchel will know complacency against a club that has won four of the last eight Champions League’s is a recipe for elimination.
Zidane was hoping to get through Saturday’s La Liga contest against Osasuna with his playing squad relatively unscathed, though the injury woes only grew.
Central defender Raphael Varane could not last longer the opening 45 minutes after sustaining a muscular injury during the first half, the Frenchman did not return after the interval.
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While Real await tests to determine the severity of Varane’s injury, they are also waiting for an update on whether they will get Federico Valverde back after the midfielder contracted coronavirus, forcing him to miss the first leg.
Both Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez will spend the remainder of the campaign on the side-lines after both picking up season-ending injuries.
There were some fears that Marcelo would also be forced to miss the trip after being called to serve at an election centre in Spain on Tuesday, and though the full-back will be forced to oblige as part of his civic duties as a Spanish citizen, Real Madrid are planning on having a private jet escort him to West London for Wednesday morning.
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Sergio Ramos was forced to watch the first-leg from the stands, though television cameras spotted the defender kicking every ball and willing his teammates on with the same passion he often displays on the pitch.
It remains to be confirmed whether Ramos will return for the second leg, though he has participated in light training this week.
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There will be a return of Stamford Bridge royalty as Eden Hazard makes his first trip back to the ground that helped propel him to football superstardom.
The Belgian’s time in Spain has been littered with injuries, but after coming off the bench in the first leg, he is fit to play on Wednesday, with the aim of breaking the hearts of fans who once adored him.
The stage is set for both sides to play out a fierce contest, with the prize a place in Istanbul for this year’s Champions League final.
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