Thomas Tuchel has cast doubt on the availability of two Chelsea players ahead of the Real Madrid clash. Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic face a race against time to get fit for the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Los Blancos.
Chelsea take on Real Madrid on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge. The two sides will clash in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw.
Thomas Tuchel was speaking to the media after Chelsea’s 2-0 Premier League win over Fulham on Saturday. The German manager revealed he was heading into the Real Madrid clash with no fresh injuries.
However, he did cast doubt over the fitness of Antonio Rudiger, who could feature wearing a mask, while all but ruling out Mateo Kovacic. He said:
“For Toni, I think he will play with a mask. He trained on Saturday with a mask so it’s just about him getting used to it. It will be a very tight race for Kovacic. He had a little setback and felt something in not the same area but the same muscle as before. It’s very likely that he will not make it unfortunately.”
Thomas Tuchel has not given up on the two making a stunning appearance in the Champions League semi-finals. The manager is wary of the challenge Real Madrid bring to the table and believes the match will be ‘exciting’ to watch.
“We have two training sessions now to prepare for Real Madrid so it will be exciting. I’m very happy with this group in the semi-final. We feel ready for a big fight and I’m pretty sure that we need a big performance because Real Madrid will give us a hard time.”
Chelsea need a clean sheet to progress
Chelsea are in the driver’s seat in the UEFA Champions League semi-final right now and have one foot in the final. The 1-1 draw in Madrid has given the Blues a crucial away goal and they can progress into the final with a goalless draw as well.
Real Madrid will have to score at all costs to have any chance of making it to the final. Los Blancos can afford a draw but need the scoreline to be 2-2 or higher.
A 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night would see the tie go into extra time. If the teams fail to score in the 30 minutes, a penalty shootout will decide the winner.