Thomas Tuchel admits Chelsea need a “fantastic script” to knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League tonight.
The Blues were second best in last week’s 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, falling victim to Karim Benzema’s brilliant hat-trick.
But Kai Havertz’s goal that night shows they can breach the Real defence and there are reasons for optimism heading into the second leg.
Havertz’s strike gave Chelsea hope before the break at the Bridge, only for a mix-up between Edouard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger to allow Benzema in for his third goal after just 46 minutes.
The Blues struggled to respond but did have chances, with Romelu Lukaku spurning a couple of good opportunities after he entered the fold on 64 minutes.
His introduction came as Eder Militao limped off and the Real defender will be absent this evening through suspension.
Nacho was a fine replacement in the first leg but not as tall and that prompted Carlo Ancelotti to make a tactical switch, with midfielder Casemiro having to drop back into the defence to provide auxiliary help.
Lukaku will miss this game due to a sore Achilles but Havertz’s presence gives the visitors an aerial threat and they are sure to target Nacho if he starts at the Bernabeu.
Away day success
After receiving criticism for their recent home woes, losing 4-1 to Brentford and 3-1 to Real, getting away from Stamford Bridge may actually help Chelsea.
The Blues’ away record in the Premier League is impressive, winning 11 of their 16 games, with only Manchester City possessing a stronger tally.
The West Londoners also won both games held in Abu Dhabi during February’s Club World Cup success.
Away from Stamford Bridge, Tuchel’s men have only failed to win one of their last 10 games — the Carabao Cup final penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool at Wembley.
Furthermore, the world and European champions will be buoyed by last season’s Champions League trips to Spain where they won 4-0 at Sevilla, 1-0 at Atletico Madrid and secured an important 1-1 draw at Real.
There can be few more inspiring places to play than the Bernabeu and its renovation over the last few years has only added to its allure.
However, it can also be incredibly intimidating, especially for the home side, if things are not going their way — as was the case for Barcelona’s 4-0 victory last month.
The Madrid public are a demanding bunch, famous for displaying their white handkerchiefs in protest at their team’s performance.
Pressure can do funny things to players, even those with the experience of this Real side.
If Chelsea can start well, it will not take long for Ancelotti’s team to feel the burden of the importance of the game.
Although as they showed in their remarkable victory against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16, the LaLiga giants have the necessary nous and quality to engineer a result.