The UEFA Champions League returns this week with some crucial semi-final first-leg fixtures.
For Chelsea, however, it is an opportunity to reach their first Champions League final since 2012 when they won the competition after a dramatic penalty shootout victory against Bayern Munich.
Chelsea will go head-to-head with Real Madrid at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on Tuesday. Los Blancos knocked out Liverpool in the quarter-finals, while Atletico Madrid exited at the hands of the Blues.
Thomas Tuchel’s impressive start to life at Chelsea
Chelsea have come a long way from the fragile and underperforming side they were under Frank Lampard. Thomas Tuchel has turned the club into a major contender in Europe.
The German manager has lost just twice in 21 matches, with Chelsea impressively keeping 16 clean sheets in the process. The Blues have also won some big matches in this period.
Victories over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, Liverpool in the Premier League and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 rank high among his impressive feats.
Tuchel has had an impressive start to life at Chelsea but now faces one of his biggest tests. Real Madrid is an experienced side and will definitely give Chelsea a run for their money.
Chelsea targeting Champions League glory
Chelsea’s season appeared to be over at the start of January when they were languishing in mid-table in the Premier League.
However, the Blues have turned their fortunes around and are now in the hunt for two trophies, the Champions League and the FA Cup. Having already qualified for the final of the latter, the focus has now shifted to the former.
And for a side that is playing in its first Champions League semi-final since 2014, Chelsea and Tuchel cannot leave any stone unturned.
Tuchel said ahead of the game (as quoted by Goal):
"We arrived in the semi-final and on the highest level, we will play Real Madrid and it cannot be harder.”
"That's because they are the most experienced team in this competition. They will play these games with full confidence and awareness. They are on a very good run at the moment. Sixteen or so games unbeaten. I am sure we will arrive with confidence and true inner belief.”
Every Chelsea fan wants the club to add to its single Champions League trophy, and it will be Tuchel’s greatest feat yet if he can lead the Blues past Real Madrid.