Chelsea will pose a threat quite unlike what Real Madrid have faced so far in this edition of the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid are within reach of yet another UEFA Champions League title but they will have their work cut out for them as they go up against a resilient Chelsea side in the semi-final. Real Madrid squandered the opportunity to pull level with La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on points as they settled for a goalless draw against Real Betis over the weekend.
But they will feel confident about their chances in the Champions League after seeing off Liverpool in the quarter-finals. Chelsea, meanwhile, beat FC Porto 2-1 on aggregate to advance to the semis but Tuchel will be wary of Real Madrid's experience and record in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Champions League has been a great hunting ground for Real Madrid and they will be hoping there is no departure from that trend when they lock horns with the Blues this week. But there's every chance that it is going to get really tough for Los Blancos.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five reasons why Real Madrid will struggle against Chelsea.
#5 Chelsea are a well-rounded, well-balanced side
Chelsea have been a different team altogether ever since Thomas Tuchel took over as coach. One admirable thing that Tuchel did right away was to get rid of any sort of shakiness. Under his tutelage, there is clarity over what players are expected to do and that has lent itself to making Chelsea a very organized unit.
The beauty of this unfolds in Chelsea's transitions. They always have an adequate number of personnel while going forward and while defending. While the wing-backs join the forwards and attacking midfielders in attack, the rest sit deep to nullify the opposition's counter-attacking threat.
Chelsea are also at near full strength. Mateo Kovacic is the only one who's sidelined with an injury and they have admirable squad depth. As such, one thing's for certain and it is that there won't be any iffyness about the way Tuchel's team goes about their business in the semi-final.
#4 Chelsea wing-backs will cause Real Madrid problems
One of the major changes that Tuchel made to the system after taking over at Chelsea is switching from full-backs to wing-backs. The Blues have been playing with a three-man defence with wing-backs operating on both sides.
The wing-backs' primary duty is to get involved in attack and this helps Chelsea create an overload of sorts down the flanks. What this does is it constantly causes opposition defenders to be pegged back in their own halves.
To make matters worse for Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy was sidelined in the game against Real Betis. He is tipped to return to the fray but his fitness could be a cause for concern for Zinedine Zidane. Dani Carvajal returned to the first-team very recently and is not exactly at peak fitness either.
As such, the Real Madrid wing-backs will have their hands full all game and cannot afford to be complacent for a second.
#3 Real Madrid are missing their attacking edge
Chelsea will fancy their chances on Tuesday as Real Madrid have looked blunt in attack in recent weeks. Out of Real Madrid's last four matches, three have been goalless. Real Madrid's poor form in front of goal has kicked in at the worst time possible as the season heads to an intense conclusion.
Benzema has been in good goalscoring form but Los Blancos have had to rely on individual brilliance a lot in recent times. They will need their attackers to fire on all cylinders if they are to break down a resolute Chelsea side.
To make matters more complicated, Eden Hazard will be available after coming off the bench against Real Betis on Saturday. This will cause a selection headache for Zidane as Vinicius Jr. has done decently in the Champions League. Zizou is likely to go with the Brazilian but Hazard might be a better fit against his former club.
#2 Chelsea are defensively solid
Chelsea have conceded a total of nine goals in 21 matches since Thomas Tuchel took over. Five of those goals came in a single game against West Bromwich Albion but to be fair to the Blues, all of those goals came after Thiago Silva was shown the red card in the 27th minute of the game.
Chelsea are currently one of the most solid defensive units in Europe and coupled with Real Madrid's attacking woes, there's every chance that Los Blancos could be shut out entirely in Tuesday's battle. Real Madrid will need to produce something special to cut through a resolute Chelsea backline.
#1 Real Madrid's injury concerns
Real Madrid will have quite a few key players missing when they take on Chelsea. They will likely be without Sergio Ramos once again. The Real Madrid captain ought to be fit for the return leg but he is set to be sidelined as Tuesday night might come too early for him.
Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos also sat out the goalless draw against Real Betis and their fitness is a real cause for concern for Zinedine Zidane. Kroos, alongside Luka Modric, was crucial to Real Madrid bossing it against Liverpool.
Dani Carvajal made his return from injury against Real Betis but he doesn't have a whole lot of momentum to build on when Chelsea come to visit. His deputy Lucas Vazquez is out injured, while Fede Valverde is unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19.