Chelsea to make Kai Havertz decision as Real Madrid welcome back Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard but suffer fresh injury blows for Champions League showdown

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Chelsea carry a slight advantage into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, although it remains finely poised.

A 1-1 draw in Spain last week means Madrid must score at Stamford Bridge to have any chance of making the final – and as things stand, the Blues would go through on away goals.

Chelsea have that crucial away goal thanks to Christian Pulisic

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Chelsea have that crucial away goal thanks to Christian Pulisic

But Thomas Tuchel’s side look set to come up against a different Los Blancos outfit on Wednesday night – live on talkSPORT.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is expected to return after missing the whole of April due to a calf injury, while former Chelsea hero Eden Hazard is fit to feature from the start on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Hazard, who has suffered a torrid time with injuries since leaving the Blues in the summer of 2019, came on as a substitute during the first leg and started the La Liga clash with Osasuna on Saturday.

An animated Ramos watched the first leg from the stands

Getty

An animated Ramos watched the first leg from the stands

Marcelo is also available after getting out of his electoral duties at the last minute, while first-choice left-back Ferland Mendy could return from a calf problem.

Federico Valverde, the midfielder and emergency right-back, has also returned to the squad after suffering from coronavirus in a boost to Real Madrid – who had just 14 fit senior players to choose from a couple of weeks ago.

However, while Madrid can call upon some key players who weren’t fully available last week, they look set to be without important men once again.

Right-backs Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are both out through injury, while Raphael Varane will also miss the match with an abductor problem.

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane will desperately hope Ramos is fit to replace Varane, whose absence represents a huge blow for the visitors and a massive opportunity for their hosts.

Madrid still won’t have their first-choice back four on Wednesday

AFP

Madrid still won’t have their first-choice back four on Wednesday

Chelsea cut Madrid’s defence open on numerous occasions in the first leg, but wastefulness in the final third let the La Liga giants off the hook.

Thomas Tuchel rotated the pack for the 2-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday – with Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta all dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile, Mateo Kovacic remained out due to injury and Antonio Rudiger was missing after suffering a problem in the last minute of the first leg against Madrid.

Tuchel hopes to have Rudiger available for the second leg against Madrid, although Kovacic looks unlikely to recover after suffering a further setback in training last week.

Havertz will be pushing for a start against Real Madrid

Getty

Havertz will be pushing for a start against Real Madrid

But besides decisions that will be forced upon him, Tuchel also has some seriously difficult choices to make from the players who are available.

Kai Havertz, who was on the bench for the first leg, starred in the victory over Fulham on Saturday with two goals, making him difficult to ignore.

The £72m man could come in for fellow summer signing Timo Werner, who has just three goals since the start of November.

Werner hit this chance straight at Thibaut Courtois last week

BT Sport

Werner hit this chance straight at Thibaut Courtois last week

Elsewhere, Tuchel must decide between Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen alongside Silva and Rudiger in defence.

The rest of the starting XI from last week in Madrid look set to retain their places.

Zidane tried to match Chelsea’s three-at-the-back to poor effect last week, so expect to see Madrid revert back to their trusty 4-3-3 formation.

How Chelsea could line-up

How Real Madrid could line up





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