Real Madrid - Chelsea: injured and suspended players for the Champions League
Zinedine Zidane is delighted to bring Toni Kroos back into his midfield, but there are a number of others he'll have to do without.
The Champions League semi-final first legs are upon us and on Tuesday we see Real Madrid looking to create an advantage from their home fixture as they welcome Chelsea to the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.
Zinedine Zidane is without a few players that would have been almost certain to start - and he'll be hoping that some will be back for the second leg - while Thomas Tuchel has almost a full squad to pick from.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea: injuries and suspensions
Real Madrid: four out, but key cog back in
Toni Kroos, along with Luka Modric and Casemiro, make up a formidable midfield trio and the German comes back into the fold after missing the last three league games.
That means that ZIdane's main gaps lie in the backline.
Ferland Mendy has only missed the first Champions League meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk, but the first-chocie left back is out for this one. That means Marcelo is most likely to come in, although the versatile Nacho could also be deployed there.
Along with Mendy, Zidane is also without captain and UCL stalwart Sergio Ramos who, although back training on his own on the pitch, is still not ready. Maybe for the second leg. The indefatigable Fede Valverde could have been a valuable asset on the bench but is still isolating after testing positive for covid-19. Again he should be ready for the London leg.
And then there’s one of Zidane’s reliable runners, Lucas Vázquez, whose knee injury will keep him out for the remainder of the run-in.
Los Blancos have no players suspended for this game.
Real Madrid’s predicted starting XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Varane, Nacho; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Vinicius and Benzema.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea: preview
Chelsea: Tuchel's almost clean bill of health
The boss of The Blues, Tuchel, has an abundance of players to choose from and is expected to set up as a side tough to breakdown, while using his full-backs to cause Madrid serious problems.
With the likes of Mount, Pulisic, Havertz and Werner to feed on and create from the opportunities handed to them, and there will be some, Chelsea are certainly capable of heading away from the Spanish capital in a strong position to reach the final.
Tuchel is only missing the Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic from his travelling squad, with injury keeping the former Real Madrid star from facing some familiar faces. And with no players suspended, the Chelsea bench provides a number of options - Marcos Alonso, Christensen, Tammy Abraham, Havertz, Zouma, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech - to change things up.
Chelsea's predicted starting XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount; Werner; Pulisic.
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