- The past two Champions League winners will meet at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night as Real Madrid host Chelsea in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.
- Frank Lampard has returned to Stamford Bridge as he aims to help deliver a shock Champions League trophy for the Blues.
- Real Madrid are looking to secure back-to-back Champions League titles after defeating Liverpool in the final last season and dumping them out at the last 16 earlier this term.
Ferland Mendy appears to be the only injury doubt for the hosts since he has missed the last three matches due to injury. He had missed large parts of the year due to a thigh problem but has now picked up a calf injury that will keep him out for the next six weeks. Eduardo Camavinga has been used in the left-back position as cover of late, whilst Nacho Fernandez is also an option.
Thiago Silva is in contention to make the team here for the Blues and he should be close to a comeback since he has returned to training, handing Lampard a huge boost ahead of their trip to Spain. Mason Mount is also in line to return after being absent from Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend.
Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy have all made recent returns, whilst Cesar Azpilicueta is also nearing full fitness from a concussion. Armando Broja will not return until the end of the season, however, as he continues his recovery from cruciate knee ligament damage.
Champions League Form
Los Blancos managed to fight from two goals down at Anfield to defeat Liverpool 5-2 in the first leg of their last 16 clash. The result all but saw Real Madrid into the next round and they wrapped it up with a comfortable 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The eight-time tournament winners continue to clutch in the Champions League and they will be the most feared opponent for anyone in the competition. However, Chelsea did manage to knock them out in 2021, en route to winning the competition, so all hope is not lost for new interim boss Lampard.
Graham Potter was the man in charge for Chelsea’s 2-1 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 as their chaotic season continues. The Champions League offers the only real chance for success this term but it will be a difficult task up against tournament favourites Real Madrid.
However, it was an encouraging display against Dortmund in the last round and they should have got more at Signal Iduna Park too, despite the 1-0 defeat. Goals from Sterling and Kai Havertz secured their spot in the final eight in the return leg and Chelsea just need to stay in the tie this time around before heading back to West London for the deciding fixture.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Real Madrid 21, Chelsea 12
Goals Against: Real Madrid 8, Chelsea 5
Both Teams To Score %: Real Madrid 62.5%, Chelsea 37.5%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Real Madrid 62.5%, Chelsea 37.5%
The two sides are pretty familiar with each other when it comes to meeting in the Champions League. They have clashed in each of the past two seasons and it was the Spanish outfit who triumphed last term in a thrilling 5-4 aggregate win before going on to defeat Liverpool in the final.
A 3-1 win for Los Blancos at Stamford Bridge seemed as though they had wrapped up the tie but Chelsea quickly raced away to a 3-0 lead in the return leg, before late drama from Rodrygo sent it to extra time. Of course, Karim Benzema was the man who made all the difference when he found the back of the net soon after the extended play to send his side into the semi-finals.
Although La Liga appears to be out of sight this season for Real Madrid, they did manage to knock Barcelona out of the Copa del Rey recently after securing a 4-0 win in the second leg to reach the final. However, they still remain 13 points behind Xavi Hernandez’s side in the league and have been inconsistent all season, also suffering a 3-2 defeat at home to Villarreal last time out.
Carlo Ancelotti will be turning his focus on the cup competitions now and they could still be on for a cup double if they are to win the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
The Blues have announced that Lampard will return to Stamford Bridge as interim manager until the end of the campaign. The unstable regime under Todd Boehly continues in West London as they now move to their third coach of the season.
Lampard had been dismissed as Everton boss in January after a poor string of results but he now has a chance at redemption and could inspire an unlikely run at the Champions League. However, it was a poor start for the 44-year-old in his return to Chelsea after they suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Wolves at the weekend.
Chelsea’s torrid run in league play sees them sit in 11th place thus far and they remain a total of 17 points behind a Champions League spot. Having won just three league games since the turn of the year, time ran out for Potter. There is still time for Chelsea to turn things around in the league but perhaps European football next season will most likely come with a Champions League triumph, although, it would certainly be against the odds.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Real Madrid 3-1 Chelsea @ 12/1 Despite the home side not being at their best this season, the visitors have been truly woeful and so we can’t see anything but a win for Real Madrid, especially at the Bernabeu. Ancelotti will be going full throttle for the Champions League and so we expect Los Blancos to get the business done in Europe once more.
Karim Benzema To Score Anytime @ 11/10 The 35-year-old veteran is still at the top of his game and continues to hit the back of the net for Real Madrid. Despite failing to score against Villarreal last time out, he hit back-to-back hat-tricks in both his last two games prior and has scored three goals in his last two Champions League games. He looks great value to get on the scoresheet against a poor Chelsea team.
Mateo Kovacic To Be Carded @ 2/1 The Croatian will be full of life against his old side and has been in great form to pick up a card, registering a booking in three of his last consecutive matches. We’re expecting the hosts to control the game and so bookings are likely for the Chelsea midfield.
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