Two would be European Super League clubs do battle at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Tuesday when Chelsea visit Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Feel it, it is here. The final four of the Champions League – European football’s biggest prize – is upon us and first up it is the Premier League’s Chelsea against La Liga’s Real Madrid.
The Blues head into the contest off the back of a 1-0 win over West Ham which only served to strengthen their domestic position. Perhaps that now being on pole to book the last of the four spots in next year’s competition could see Thomas Tuchel play a more attacking game plan in this almighty contest.
The Blues were humbled by Porto in the second leg of their last eight encounter while Real Madrid were composed in fending off the threat of Liverpool despite a number of defenders absent.
In league action, Real were held goalless against Real Betis but in avoiding defeat they moved their unbeaten record to 17 matches. A concern for Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane will be his side’s inability to score with the Betis stalemate representing the third such result in the last four matches.
Chelsea fans will be hopeful of another blank in front of goals from the hosts as the visitors make their first appearance at this stage of the competition for seven years.
While it’s unlikely that Sergio Ramos will play a part in this match, it is setting up to be a treat as Eden Hazard has been declared 100% ready. The former Chelsea lynchpin might be determined to show his former supporters what they are missing and could yet spark some fire into Zidane’s otherwise muted attack.
Toni Kroos is in a race against time to take up his place in midfield alongside Casemiro and Luka Modric.
Former Real midfielder Mateo Kovacic is unavailable to face his former employers through injury but for the Blues there is good news in that Thiago Silva is likely to start.
These sides have barely met in the past – just three outings – but history points to the Londoners with Real having never beaten them. Another good omen is that manager Tuchel has also never lost to Madrid from four matches.