Seeking to spark a phenomenal turnaround against this season’s Champions League comeback kings, Chelsea visit the Bernabeu for the second leg of their European quarter-final on Tuesday night seeking their own comeback.
The defending champions head to the Spanish capital after being sunk 3-1 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, with one illustrious Frenchman doing the damage on the night as either Manchester City or Atletico Madrid lie in wait in the semi-finals.
Just one of 43 sides in the Champions League history has overturned a two-goal deficit suffered in the first leg at home, but a defiant Thomas Tuchel is daring to dream of a great Chelsea comeback at Real Madrid – and has ordered his men to defy history.
The Blues boss saw his side crushed 3-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final first leg with Karim Benzema blasting a superb hat-trick but he’s adamant the defending champions can pull off a stunning result that will send Chelsea to the semi-finals.
Tuchel said: “We need nothing else than a fantastic script that we want to be able to overcome this. We are always allowed to dream. It is sometimes important to imagine things and to dream about them, but it will not shift the focus from the fact that we need to deliver and we need to be ready.”
He added: “What chance do we have? Not the biggest chance, given the first game’s result, given the competition, the opponent and the stadium we play in.
“But we’ve never managed our input and our effort and our belief by the chances we have for a result. We have never done that and we will not start now.”
The first leg was certainly one-sided with the Blues getting stunned by the brilliance of one man- Benzema. Despite trailing by 1-3, Tuchel’s men would be looking to stage a comeback while Madrid would be hoping to keep things simple.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have one foot firmly in the semi-finals and also ensured that 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.
A second successive semi-final appearance is now within Real Madrid’s sights, and they have struck at least two goals in each of their last three Champions League wins on home soil, but Chelsea did manage to respond with a goal-laden showing of their own on the South Coast.
The defence of their crown is seemingly in tatters after such a catastrophic first-leg loss, but Kai Havertz’s header has at least given Chelsea a slight glimmer of hope, with the German coming up clutch in the big games for the Blues once again.
In dire need of a response to home defeats to Los Blancos and Brentford, Tuchel got the reaction that he was hoping for against Southampton, whose error-strewn performance ended in a 6-0 hammering at the hands of Mason Mount (2), Timo Werner (2), Marcos Alonso and Havertz, and the only consolation Southampton supporters could take from that 6-0 loss is that it did not end up being nine.
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.
In spite of 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.
HEAD TO HEAD
06 Apr 2022 – Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid – Champions League
05 May 2021 – Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid – Champions League
27 Apr 2021 – Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea – Champions League
28 Aug 1998 – Real Madrid 0-1 Chelsea – Super Cup
21 May 1971 – Chelsea 2-1 Real Madrid – Cup Winners’ Cup
The standout fixture is of course that 1-1 draw in Madrid last term. Thomas Tuchel’s men traveled to Real’s temporary digs and brought a 1-1 back to the Bridge, where they proceeded to run riot at home. Christian Pulisic broke the deadlock after 14 minutes, but Benzema restored parity shortly after. For the home 2-0 win, goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount got the job done and booked Chelsea a ticket to the final where, of course, they beat Man City 1-0.
*There have been six meetings between the two sides across all competitions, with all of them coming in the knockout stages of various UEFA competitions.
*Madrid’s win in the first leg was their first taste of victory against the Blues, who enjoy a 3-1 lead in wins while two games have ended in draws.
*Chelsea play their first game at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, with their away leg last season coming at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.
*No Premier League side has ever won a game at Madrid by more than a one-goal margin.
*Los Vikingos have progressed into the next stage in the knockout stage of the competition on nine of their last 10 occasions in which they secured a win in the first leg.
*Chelsea have scored more than twice in an away game in the knockout stage only once, in a 3-1 win over Liverpool in 2009.
*Real Madrid (8.6 per game) have committed the fewest fouls of all teams still remaining in the competition, while Chelsea have been fouled on the fewest occasions (8.3 per game).
*This will be Chelsea’s 22nd visit to Spain to take on a La Liga side and they have moderate success after managing 6 wins, 9 draws and 6 losses.
*The Los Blancos have a good home record against English Premier League sides at the. They won 9 of the 19 so far along with 7 draws and 3 losses.
Having rediscovered their golden touch against a lacklustre 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 have 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 Madrid can nick a couple goals of their own to end Chelsea’s dreams of back-to-back European titles.
In what is a mammoth occasion for both sides, the onus is well and truly on the visitors.
SCORELINE: Real Madrid 2-2 Chelsea (Real Madrid win 5-3 on aggregate)Copyright © 2023 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.