Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says he is hoping to find a
solution to combat the return of Sergio Ramos in their Champions
League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid. The German
hinted that the Blues could operate with a ‘false nine’ in order to
limit the Spaniard’s effectiveness.
The west London side go into Wednesday’s game with every
chance of reaching their third Champions League final — and their
first since 2012 — after securing a 1-1 draw at Estadio Alfredo Di
Stefano on April 28.
Kai Havertz has been Tuchel’s preferred choice to lead the line in
recent games and the 21-year-old impressed again in the role in
the 2-0 win over Fulham , scoring both goals to double his tally to
four in the league this season.
The alternative tactical plans could be to deploy Timo Werner as a
central striker or turn to a target man such as Olivier Giroud, who
has scored six goals in the competition so far, in a man-to-man
aerial battle with the experienced Madrid captain.
But with Ramos set to return for the return fixture at Stamford
Bridge after a spell on the sidelines, Tuchel admits he is yet to
decide which plan to go with should the 35-year-old feature from
“If we play with no striker at all and Ramos has nothing to fight
then that can also be a solution. I have not made my mind up yet,”
he told Chelsea’s official website.
“It’s another challenge because he is the leader of their group and
he is the guy to give a lot of solutions to any questions that we will
hopefully ask them.
“We will wait and see who is in good shape and good form, what
shape we play and where we try to hurt them.
“I’m not too sure if they will play again with five or go back to four
[in defence] so there are many questions, but we don’t need the
answers now. It’s enough if we have them on Wednesday.”
Chelsea will go into the second leg in west London with some
fitness concerns. Antonio Rudiger sustained a facial injury in the
first leg and subsequently missed the Fulham match, but it appears
the defender will wear a protective mask for the second leg.
However, Mateo Kovacic looks set to miss out on a reunion with
his former club after suffering a setback in his recovery from a
“For Toni, I think he will play with a mask. He trained on Saturday
with a mask so it’s just about him getting used to it,” Tuchel said.
“It will be a very tight race for Kovacic. He had a little setback and
felt something in not the same area but the same muscle as
before. It’s very likely that he will not make it unfortunately.
Tuchel led Paris Saint-Germain to their first Champions League
final in 2019-20 before losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the final.
And the former Borussia Dortmund tactician is confident his side
can deliver the result they need to edge one step closer to
“We have two training sessions now to prepare for Real Madrid so
it will be exciting. I’m very happy with this group in the semi-final.”
“We feel ready for a big fight and I’m pretty sure that we need a big
performance because Real Madrid will give us a hard time.”
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