For the third time in a row, Real Madrid will play Chelsea in the Champions League. Los Blancos are the big favourites this time, not only because of their prowess in the millionaire competition, but also because of Chelsea’s crisis. Who will qualify this time?
The semi-finals of the Champions League 2020/21, Real Madrid vs Chelsea, the first leg in Madrid ended 1-1, in the rematch at Stamford Bridge the Blues secured their qualification to the final by winning 2-0 and subsequently won the LM.
Quarter-final 2021/22 Real Madrid vs. Chelsea, Los Blancos won 3:1 in London, in the return leg Chelsea went 3:0 up, but Real managed to take the game to extra time and advance, then won the whole LM.
And like any good film, this story has its third part. And if one can talk about the fact that in the previous two years Chelsea under Tuchel was very strong and unpredictable, it must be mentioned that at the moment the Madrid team is the huge favourite.
The Champions League is its competition. Last year, it came to claim the Eared Cup over the toughest possible opponents – PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool – and in the eighth round it faced the Reds again, losing 0-2 after 20 minutes at the mythical Anfield. But Benzema and co. didn’t make a big deal of it, they set the home side up with 5 goals and showed why nobody wants to play Real in the Champions League.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are in a giant crisis. Owner Todd Boehly has already sacked two coaches during the season, Thomas Tuchel was replaced by Graham Potter, only that the latter did not do well at all and was recently replaced by Frank Lampard until the end of the season.
The Blues haven’t been in this predicament for a long time. In the Premier League they are only in eleventh place and are closer to seventeenth-placed Everton (12 points) than to fifth-placed Tottenham (13 points). So they can probably forget about the cups next season at Stamford Bridge.
But there is still one way to play in the Champions League next year – to win it in the current season. So all eyes at Chelsea will be on the Eared Cup, even though it will be an extremely difficult task.
We would find one precedent, though. In 2012, Chelsea was taken over by its former player Roberto di Matteo during the season, also only as a stopgap until the end of the season. However, he eventually reached the final, where he overcame Bayern to win the whole competition. Can Frank Lampard do the same?
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