Misfiring Real Madrid host in-form Chelsea for 1st leg of CL semis
Madrid, Apr 26 (EFE).- Real Madrid will need to overcome a recent goal drought if they are to overcome Chelsea, a team that has yet to be beaten away from Stamford Bridge under German coach Thomas Tuchel.
The Spanish powerhouse lacked imagination and a cutting edge in their 0-0 draw against Real Betis on Saturday — their third scoreless draw in their past four matches — which could prove a crucial setback for their La Liga title hopes.
Fatigue from a grueling campaign appears to be weighing on the reigning La Liga champions, with just three games separating the Spanish club from their record-extending 14th Champions League title.
They will be without defensive stalwart and captain Sergio Ramos, while Lucas Vazquez will also miss out.
“We’ve got a month of the season to go and we’ll fight until the end, come what may,” Real Madrid French coach Zinedine Zidane said at a presser on the eve of the Chelsea game.
“We’ll have difficulties, of course, but so will all teams. What motivates us is to go out onto the pitch and give everything we can,” he added.
“It’s a semi-final and obviously tomorrow will be a difficult game. We will have to be vigilant, defend well and try to create chances. We will have to be at our very best to hurt Chelsea,” he said.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are making their first Champions League semifinal appearance in seven years with their morale sky-high.
The Blues on Saturday earned a late 1-0 win over West Ham United, one of their rivals in the race for a top-4 finish of the Premier League season and the prize of a spot in next season’s Champions League.
The win put Chelsea three points ahead of fifth-placed West Ham and four clear of Liverpool in sixth with five games to play.