Real Madrid and Chelsea go head-to-head in the Champions League semi-final at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on Tuesday evening.
After three matches since their last Champions League outing, Real Madrid are back in action against another English giant in the continental competition. Having seen off Liverpool in the quarterfinal, the Whites host Chelsea in the first leg of the semi-final.
Los Blancos and the Blues face off for the very first time in this competition at Alfredo di Stefano on Tuesday evening. Zinedine Zidane, who has never beaten Thomas Tuchel, misses Ferland Mendy, Federico Valverde, Lucas Vazquez and Sergio Ramos for this clash.
One of the Frenchman’s biggest boosts is the return of Toni Kroos. The German missed the last two league games with a muscular discomfort, but he does come back in arguably the most important fixture of the season for Real Madrid.
Thibaut Courtois will keep his place in goal. The Belgian, who has kept four straight clean sheets will face his former club for the first time since leaving three years ago. It will be imperative that Courtois keeps out another goal and gets a fifth clean sheet in a row.
Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez and Raphael Varane are all in a great run of form and proving to be indispensable. As a result, Zidane could go with a three-man defence, which is now a well tried and tested formula in the pointy end of the season.
A five-man midfield will see the side’s most in-form players in Casemiro and Luka Modric retain their spots in the eleven. Toni Kroos, whose passing has been pivotal this season will return the eleven as well.
Dani Carvajal and Marcelo are expected to be tasked with providing attacking momentum down the right and left wings, respectively. They will also need to drop deep when Chelsea’s wing-backs enter Real Madrid’s attacking third.
Vinicius Junior, the scorer of two goals against Liverpool will come into the line-up after being rested over the weekend. He has not scored since that match and will be up against a challenging defender in Cesar Azpilicueta on Tuesday. Vinicius will play as a forward in a two-man strike partnership.
Karim Benzema will lead the line, his last Champions League goal came more than 200 minutes ago when he scored against Atalanta in the round of 16, second leg.
Who do you think will come out on top in the first semi-final bout in Madrid?