Chelsea FC star Mateo Kovacic in race to prove fitness ahead of Real Madrid clash

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James Robson
·2-min read
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Mateo Kovacic has today to convince Thomas Tuchel he can play a part in Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.

The midfielder has been in a race against time to recover from a hamstring injury – and suffered a setback in training last week.

Tuchel and Chelsea’s medical staff have been assessing his progress at the start of this week before making a final decision on whether to include him.

Toni Rudiger is expected to play, despite suffering a facial injury in the first leg but will likely have to wear a mask.

The Germany defender has been training in the protective-wear in a bid to get accustomed to it before Chelsea aim to book their place in the final in Istanbul later this month.

Real have their own injury concerns after key defender Raphael Varane was ruled out with an abductor injury.

The France centre back was substituted during the Spanish giants’ 2-0 win against Osasuna on Saturday, with tests later confirming he would not make the Chelsea game.

Better news for Zinedine Zidane is the expected return of Sergio Ramos, who has been out since March with a calf injury.

The centre-back took part in training yesterday and in the absence of Varane, Zidane will be desperate to get him back.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Ferland Mendy, who missed the first leg with a thigh injury, is also back in training and in contention.

Eden Hazard has given Real hope he will be able to start on his return to Stamford Bridge.

The Chelsea legend started his first game since January 30 against Osasuna, lasting 72 minutes.

There have been no reports of discomfort since the game, putting in line to be named in Zidane’s starting XI to boost Real’s hopes of overturning a 1-1 draw in the first leg, which gives Chelsea the advantage of an away goal.

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