With Real Madrid expected to come out all guns blazing, the team has suffered setbacks. Los Blancos are expected to start their second leg against Chelsea without French defender Raphael Varane and Uruguayan midfielder Fede Valverde.
Real Madrid's loss of personnel could benefit Chelsea, who can expect their opponents to be frail at the back in the absence of Varane. The Frenchman has arguably been Real Madrid's most important centre-back alongside captain Sergio Ramos.
Real Madrid set to travel to Chelsea without their key men
According to Spanish news outlet AS, Real Madrid are expected to start their Champions League second leg against Chelsea without Raphael Varane. The Frenchman was substituted at half-time against Osasuna.
Reports have now suggested that the 28-year-old defender picked up an injury against Osasuna and is set to undergo an MRI scan to assess the injury. AS stated that regardless of the injury's severity, Zidane will not risk starting Varane against Chelsea.
Real Madrid have some positives to look forward to. Defensive partners Ferland Mendy and Sergio Ramos are expected to return to the squad to play against Chelsea. The question now becomes whether the two will start the game at Stamford Bridge. Nacho and Eder Militao have done nothing wrong to warrant being dropped to the bench for this crucial tie.
Another player Real Madrid will miss against Chelsea is midfielder Federico Valverde. The 22-year-old Uruguayan international has not recovered from COVID-19. Champions League protocol requires a player to have a negative test to start a game. However, with only two days to go until their tie against Chelsea, it is safe to assume that Valverde will not participate.
Manager Zinedine Zidane seemed to have expected Valverde's unavailability for the Chelsea game. The French coach decided to rest Luka Modric and Toni Kroos against Osasuna, hoping to keep them fresh for the all-important second leg of the Champions League semifinal.
How will Real Madrid line-up?
Real Madrid are expected to have Nacho and Militao as part of their centre-back pairing against Chelsea. If Zidane decides not to rush Mendy, Ramos and Militao could play as the two centre-backs, with Nacho playing as Real Madrid's left-back.
Zidane will surely go for the tried and tested midfield three of Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric. Valverde has always been a great option off the bench, but looks highly unlikely to feature against Chelsea.