Chelsea’s defense of their Champions League crown is hanging by a thread as they head to the Spanish capital for a quarter-final showdown against Real Madrid. A Karri Benzema hat-trick secured Los Blancos a 3-1 aggregate lead from the first leg at Stamford Bridge, although the absence of the away-goal rule somewhat lessens that advantage compared to previous years.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have one foot firmly in the semi-finals of this year’s competition and also ensured they retained their double-figure advantage over the chasing pack in La Liga with a straightforward 2-0 success over Getafe – their eighth victory from nine in all competitions.
Los Blancos have certainly proven that the 4-0 Clasico thumping at the hands of Barcelona was little more than an outlier, and only once in 10 previous occasions have, they failed to make it through in the Champions League when winning the first leg away from home. Although the memories of Ajax still rings a bitter bell for some Bernabeu supporters.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea bounced back on the weekend with a demolition job against Southampton. Tuchel could hardly have asked for a better warm-up for the trip to the Bernabeu, where they will have to pull off a feat that no English team has ever done before if they are to remain alive in the competition – win at the ground by at least two goals.
Form guide: Chelsea
Despite their recent collapses at Stamford Bridge, the demolition job at St Mary’s represented Chelsea’s seventh win away from home in all competitions, and they have only failed to score in one of their last 15 Champions League games in which they were billed as the away team.
Victory over the Blues at Stamford Bridge saw Real Madrid end a five-match winless hoodoo against the London club in European competition, and the pressure is now on Ancelotti’s men to avoid suffering what they inflicted on PSG only a few weeks ago.
Los Blancos picked up a deserved win in the first meeting at Stamford Bridge but the Blues responded in style at the weekend with a 6-0 win at Southampton.
Preview: Real Madrid
Madrid cruised past Getafe at the Bernabeu – during which Gareth Bale was booed. Real Madrid have only lost twice at home this season, to Sheriff Tiraspol in the group stages of this competition and to Barcelona, and they’ve won five of their last six in Madrid.
The Spanish giants overcame PSG 3-1 in their last home game in Europe and have won seven of their last nine home games in the Champions League, and they look good value to make it eight in 10 ahead of Chelsea’s visit.
How the match could go
Having rediscovered their golden touch against a lackluster Southampton, Chelsea have already shown that they can breach this Real Madrid backline and will fancy their chances of doing so on more than one occasion with an attack-minded approach and no Militao in the hosts’ lineup.
Tuchel’s side simply has to go for goals in the Spanish capital, but such an approach will always leave them susceptible to Vinicius Junior’s dynamism and Benzema’s brilliance on the break, and Real can nick a couple goals of their own to end Chelsea’s dreams of back-to-back European titles.
Both teams to score (Yes)
The first tip for this match between Real Madrid and Chelsea is that both teams will find the net. Of course, the first leg ended 3-1 with Chelsea seemingly incapable of keeping Karim Benzema under wraps; that gives Real a great chance of bagging at least another goal on their own patch. As for Chelsea’s attacking prowess, they have endured a rather below-par patch before the first leg. They kicked into gear at the weekend though hitting Southampton for six. 1xbet have 1.70 and Paripesa have 1.70 odds.
Over 2.5 Goals
The Blues, on the other hand, aim to overcome a two-goal deficit at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Since Thomas Tuchel’s troops have no other choice but to adopt an attack-minded approach in the second leg, and over 2.5 goals betting option should be considered. We are sure in for a high scoring affair as both sides wouldn’t want to lose this tie and exit this competition this early. Paripesa have 1.89 and 1xbet have 1.89 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Real Madrid)
The French hitman has bagged back-to-back hat tricks in his last two Champions League games and, after his showing at Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea backline will likely be dreading going up against him again. You can’t really blame them for that either; his goal tally in Europe this season reads as notching a goal every 64 minutes. Paripesa have 2.30 odds for him to score.
Although the Brazilian had no say in the goals in last week’s win, he sure assisted one of the goals for Karim and we will still include him here. He will be a threat to Chelsea here today as he would surely exploit spaces left behind by the Chelsea defense in their quest for goals to see them back in the tie. He has been prolific up front this term and he is a top candidate to score too here today. Paripesa have 3.20 odds for him to score.
Anytime Goalscorer (Chelsea)
Kai Havertz has 19 goals in 51 games with Chelsea this season and has been on a roll for the team scoring in back-to-back fixtures for the club. He has also found the back of the net thrice in the Champions League this season. He would be leading the line today and he is one for important matches as he has proven in the past. Paripesa have 3.40 odds for him to score.
The Englishman had a hand in half of Chelsea’s goals against Southampton and has produced his last eight-goal contributions (G3, A5) away from home. He has the most goal contributions for his side this season with 30 G/A which is his best from previous years and he would be looking to add another as he wouldn’t want to disappoint the Chelsea faithful by crashing out pretty early. Paripesa have 4.00 odds for him to score.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.