Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that he will be without four first-team players for Tuesday’s Champions League meeting against Real Madrid.
The Blues were second-best during the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final last week, suffering a 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
They have a huge mountain to climb at the Bernabeu, and should go into the game with optimism after a thumping victory at Southampton.
After back-to-back losses, the Blues produced a perfect response with a resounding 6-0 Premier League triumph over the Saints on the road.
This should boost their confidence ahead of tomorrow’s game, but they will have to cope with the absence of at least four first-team players.
Ben Chilwell has been ruled out for the long-term after a knee surgery. Alongside him, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley are sidelined.
Hudson-Odoi has been struggling with an Achilles issue for weeks. Lukaku is now recovering from a similar concern. He recently missed the Saints game.
Meanwhile, Barkley has been ruled out with a non-covid illness. Their absence is not a big blow for Tuchel, but he would have preferred Lukaku in the squad.
He told Chelseafc.com: “Callum Hudson-Odoi is still out and Ben Chilwell is of course out for a long time.
“Romelu will not travel due to his pain in the Achilles that he has felt recently. Ross Barkley is sick.”
Lukaku has been poor in his homecoming season with just 12 goals, but the Belgian had a decent showing during the second half against Madrid last week.
He almost scored with a headed chance, and created another scoring opportunity for Hakim Ziyech, who put his effort just side of Thibaut Courtois’ far post.
Tuchel won’t be able to call on him tomorrow, but Timo Werner may have a big chance to prove himself.
The German netted a brace and hit the woodwork thrice against the Saints. He was fantastic up front alongside Kai Havertz against a high-pressing side.
It will be a completely different challenge against Madrid. Werner netted in his previous meeting against Madrid last term, and will be hoping to replicate the feat.