Excitement is in the air as the Champions League quarter finals kick off this week with the final eight teams vying for supremacy. Among these contenders are two titans, Real Madrid and Chelsea, who are set to face off in the highly anticipated first leg of the quarterfinals at the legendary Estadio Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
It's not the first time these two teams have met in the knockout stages, and the stakes are higher than ever as Real Madrid seeks to reach their second UEFA Champions League final in just three years. Their recent crushing 6-2 victory over red giants Liverpool has put them in a commanding position heading into the quarterfinals.
Although they may have lost the La Liga title, a second Champions League victory would still make their 2022/23 season a resounding success. Real Madrid's defense has been solid, with just two goals conceded in their last two games, including a stunning 4-0 win over Barcelona.
However, their most recent five-goal thriller at the Bernabeu saw them suffer a 3-2 loss to Villarreal, reminding them that they cannot be complacent against any team.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's 2022/23 season has been a nightmare so far, currently ranked a lowly 11th in the Premier League standings. With four games without a win in all competitions, the pressure is on for the Blues to turn their fortunes around.
They managed to scrape through the last 16 thanks to Kai Havertz's penalty against Borussia Dortmund, but their attacking woes have been evident in their failure to score in their previous three games.
The Champions League could be their only hope for a successful season, but Real Madrid is a formidable opponent that will not make it easy for them. The top bookmakers in India have fantastic Champions League odds with them.
Real Madrid lost 3-2 to Villarreal in La Liga, dropping crucial points. Eduardo Camavinga rested, and he or Nacho Fernandez may replace injured left back Ferland Mendy. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos expected to return to the starting 11, providing a much-needed boost. Despite the setback, Real Madrid remains a formidable force in both La Liga and the Champions League.
Carlo Ancelloti will pick up the strongest XI for this game.
Predicted Lineup: Thibaut Courtois, Daniel Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Luka Modric, Nacho Fernandez, Toni kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior
Chelsea's 2022/23 season has been one of their worst ever, having already dismissed two managers. Club legend Frank Lampard was appointed caretaker manager, but the Blues lost their first game under him to Wolverhampton, suggesting that nothing has changed. N’Golo Kante is likely to start against Madrid after missing the Wolves game, but Thiago Silva, Armando Broja, Mason Mount, and Cesar Azpilicueta are doubtful for the match. Furthermore, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Noni Madueke, and David Datro Fofana are not included in the squad.
Fit-again N’Golo Kante will definitely be starting in this match.
Predicted Lineup: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell, Enzo Fernandez, N’Golo Kante, Raheem Sterling, Joao Felix, Kai Havertz
Real Madrid in the Champions League are a different team altogether and we expect them to dominate struggling Blues in the first leg. Despite defeat in their last tie in La Liga, Real will surely come out all guns blazing in this tie and we expect this to be a goal-fest. This will surely be a battle of midfield and we expect Real Madrid to come out as winners after end of 90 minutes.