Chelsea FC XI vs Real Madrid: Starting lineup, team news, confirmed Champions League squad, injury latest

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James Robson
·2-min read
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 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Mateo Kovacic is the only Chelsea player missing ahead of tonight’s Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.

Thomas Tuchel has called on his players to maintain their big-game mentality – and has been boosted with a near fully-fit squad for Wednesday’s first leg.

Kovacic damaged his hamstring ahead of the quarter-final second leg against Porto, but it is hoped he will be back for the game against Fulham on Saturday.

Tuchel said: “It’s only Kovacic that we are missing, everybody else is available and in the squad with us for tomorrow.

“We have had now several matches at the highest level because we play in the most demanding league in Europe, so we have it every three days, but in these competitions they have been crucial matches which is very clear, and we have delivered and performed.

“And we showed our skills and mentality in all these matches, at Tottenham, Liverpool, Atletico and Porto and so on. And again now against West Ham, it’s the best way to arrive in a Champions League match with a crucial win in your bag.”

Tuchel recently described Manchester City and Bayern Munich as the benchmark in Europe.

But in Real, Chelsea face the undisputed kings of the Champions League, who boast a record 13 wins.

He said: “Maybe the next level is to keep the level, sometimes it’s like this. Don’t drop the level. And I strongly believe in our squad that we can do this.

“And sometimes in circumstances playing against a big, experienced team and a huge club in European competition like Real Madrid, maybe the next step is to keep the level and not to over-expect from us.

“Because I truly believe that we showed in Tottenham, Liverpool and Atletico and Porto that we are capable of consistently producing high-level football, in all questions that are asked on the pitch in offensive and defensive terms.

“So the challenge is for me more to produce it again, and to keep the level up.

“Be ourselves. Rely on our strengths and do the things that make you confident.

“We have these things as a team and this is what we try to do at the best level. The challenge is to be ourselves, the best version of ourselves, for 90 or 94 minutes against Madrid.”

Chelsea starting XI: Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount, Werner, Pulisic.

Chelsea squad:Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Alonso, Christensen, Jorginho, Silva, Kante, Abraham, Pulisic, Werner, Caballero, Zouma, Mendy, Giroud, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, James, Azpilicueta, Havertz, Palmieri, Gilmour.

Injury list: Kovacic (thigh)

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