Real Madrid entertain Chelsea in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night and will be clear favourites to book a semi-final tie against either Manchester City or Atletico Madrid.
The Karim Benzema masterclass in Stamford Bridge last week which saw the French striker net a hat-trick in a 3-1 win, gives Carlo Ancelotti’s men a huge advantage. While Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted after the game that his side had little chance of progressing into the last four.
The mood among the reigning European Champions may have changed, however, after they bounced back to form with a 6-0 win away to Southampton on Saturday, but it would still need something very special (and a very improved defensive display) to turn the tie around.
Ancelotti was able to rest defender Dani Carvajal and midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric as his side enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Getafe on Saturday night in a game where their rivals didn’t manage a shot on target all game, reports Xinhua.
Kroos, Modric and Carvajal will all be back on Tuesday night, but Eder Militao is suspended and the club is still waiting to see if left-back Ferland Mendy recovers from the muscle problems which sidelined him on Saturday.
Normally Nacho Fernandez would fill in on the left, but Militao’s suspension means Nacho will partner with David Alaba in central defense and Marcelo would have to continue on the left — something that would weaken the Madrid backline.
Villarreal are also in Champions League action on Tuesday with Unai Emery’s men defending a 1-0 first leg lead away to Bayern Munich.
Emery rested the 11 players who started the first leg against Bayern in his side’s 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday and will make wide-ranging changes again for what promises to be a dramatic game in Munich.
Villarreal stunned Juventus 3-0 in the last round, but Bayern will have learned from their mistakes a week ago and this promises to be the hardest 90 minutes of the season for the Spanish side.