MX23RW : Monday, June 14 06:45:46| >> :120:28691:28691:

The big talking points ahead of Chelsea's Champions League tie with Real Madrid

The big talking points ahead of Chelsea's Champions League tie with Real Madrid
© Reuters
Mateo Kovacic has failed in his bid to shake off a hamstring problem in time to take on his former club Real.

Chelsea will host Real Madrid on Wednesday night with a place in the Champions League final on the line.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key talking points for the semi-final second leg.

Kante seeks to add Champions League to his trophy haul

Thomas Tuchel and N'Golo Kante file photo
Thomas Tuchel, back, hugs N'Golo Kante, front (Clive Mason/PA)

N'Golo Kante has won almost everything going in football – but the Champions League trophy continues to elude him. Now the 30-year-old France star is back to his best, and closing in on his best chance yet to win Europe's premier club competition. Premier League crowns with Leicester and Chelsea are already in the bag, and so too the World Cup with France. Kante even spurred the Blues to 2019 Europa League glory despite battling a knee problem throughout that 4-1 demolition of Arsenal in Baku. Kante can hardly add to his status in the game, but a Champions League title would certainly help.

Kovacic a big miss for Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic file photo
Mateo Kovacic, pictured, will miss out for Chelsea through injury (Ian Walton/PA)

The luckless Mateo Kovacic has failed in his bid to shake off a hamstring problem in time to take on his former club Real. The Croatia star's absence will be keenly felt by the Blues, even despite the fine form of both Kante and Jorginho in defensive midfield. Boss Thomas Tuchel could easily have used all three men throughout this second leg in a bid to keep his Chelsea side razor sharp. But now the Blues must battle it out without one of the most reliable performers of an exceptional last few months.

Pulisic up against Chelsea's former number 10 Hazard

New Chelsea boss Tuchel has made no secret of the fact that Christian Pulisic taking on the Blues' number 10 shirt harbours all sorts of pressure and responsibility. Pulisic will go head-to-head with Chelsea's former number 10 again on Wednesday, as Eden Hazard makes an intriguing return to Stamford Bridge. Hazard's excellence in the coveted shirt certainly leaves Pulisic with a lot to live up to, but the USA forward has been back in top form in recent weeks. The stage will be set in west London for Chelsea's past and future to clash in the present.

Real sweating on Ramos

Real Madrid's defensive talisman Sergio Ramos missed the first leg that was drawn 1-1 through injury. The Spain stalwart is back in the Real squad for the Chelsea trip, but it remains to be seen whether the 35-year-old will be fit enough to start at Stamford Bridge. Real would most likely revert to their favoured 4-3-3 formation should Ramos start. And Blues boss Tuchel has already hinted that the best way to take on the abrasive centre-back could be through deploying Kai Havertz in the false nine role that has so suited the Germany forward in recent weeks.

ID:446023:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect8279:
Collect / Create New Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante pictured on July 4, 2020
Read Next:
Thomas Tuchel hopes Chelsea win Champions League for "top guy" N'Golo Kante
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free match previews newsletter! Updates are sent twice a week.

rhs 2.0
Euro 2020 fixtures
Monday, June 14, 2021
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Todays Game Header Right
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!