Real Madrid vs Chelsea preview: Kovacic to miss out

Team news, stats, kick-off time ahead of the Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Chelsea (kick-off 8pm).

Team news

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos trained with his team-mates and will be available from the start for Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Madrid are playing in the Champions League semi-finals for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons, having won four titles in that period. However, they have been knocked out in the round of 16 for the last two seasons.

Hazard finally fresh and itching to make his mark

The luckless Eden Hazard has battled injury upon injury in his two seasons at Real since his mega transfer from Chelsea in the summer of 2019. The Belgium playmaker is finally back fit, however, and should be in position to feature on Tuesday night. Always genial off the pitch, ever impudent on it, Chelsea know full well just how Hazard can force matches to revolve around his wit, ingenuity and class. Tuchel’s water-tight defence will be tested to the limit.

Mateo Kovacic will miss Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final first leg with a hamstring problem. The Croatia midfielder could yet be fit for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Fulham.

The Blues will otherwise have a fully-fit squad for their first Champions League semi-final since 2014.

How to follow

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Opta stats

  • This will be the fourth European meeting between Chelsea and Real Madrid – they faced in the 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup final (1-1 first game, 2-1 to Chelsea in replay) and the 1998 UEFA Super Cup final (1-0 to Chelsea).
  • Real Madrid have faced Chelsea more often than any other side in all competitions without winning in their entire history, failing in all three matches (D1 L2).
  • Chelsea are set to play in their eighth UEFA Champions League semi-final, the most of any English club, while this is Real Madrid’s 14th semi-final – two more than any other side.

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  • Chelsea have only lost the first leg in one of their seven previous UEFA Champions League semi-finals (W2 D4), a 3-1 defeat to Monaco in 2003-04. The first legs of their last six semi-finals – all in which they were unbeaten – have seen just four goals scored (3 for, 1 conceded).
  • Real Madrid have won the first leg of nine of their last 10 UEFA Champions League knockout ties (L1), scoring at least two goals in eight of these games. This is their first semi-final since 2017-18, winning the first leg 2-1 that year away at Bayern Munich.

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  • Zinedine Zidane and Thomas Tuchel are two of only 24 managers to have managed 15+ UEFA Champions League matches in the knockout stages – Zidane has the joint-best win ratio (alongside Luis Enrique) of these managers (67%, P27 W18), while Chelsea boss Tuchel has the seventh-best percentage (53%, P15 W8).
  • Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has faced Real Madrid more often without losing in the UEFA Champions League than against any other opponent (W1 D3) – in the competition’s history, the only other manager to face Los Blancos as many as four times without losing is Gerard Houllier (P4 W2 D2).
  • Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has conceded just two goals in his first nine UEFA Champions League appearances – the record for fewest goals conceded in a goalkeeper’s first 10 matches is two, set by Keylor Navas between 2014 and 2016 for Real Madrid.


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