GOOD EVENING FROM SPAIN
Welcome to our live coverage of the Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Chelsea.
These clubs may have seen their dastardly Super League plans dashed a week ago, but success in this continental competition remains a distinct possibility.
A 14th European title may well be Real’s best hope of silverware this season with their La Liga title challenge faltering following recent goalless draws with Getafe and Real Betis.
However, Los Blancos have shown they can defend resolutely despite still being without captain Sergio Ramos, and have now clocked up four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.
Saturday saw the long-awaited return of Eden Hazard, and the Belgian appears to have timed his recovery from injury perfectly to face his former club “with a point to prove.”
That’s the view of Thomas Tuchel, the Chelsea coach who is pursuing Champions League glory on two fronts.
The Blues took charge in the race to finish in the Premier League’s top four by winning at West Ham at the weekend, and must now feel that the pressure is off as they dream of success in this tournament for a second time.
While Real eliminated one Premier League club in Liverpool at the quarter-final stage, Chelsea have already knocked out Madrid’s other club with two thoroughly professional and pragmatic performances.
Mateo Kovacic is the only confirmed absentee from Tuchel’s squad in the Spanish capital.
We’ll have confirmation of tonight’s teams shortly plus lots more build-up ahead of the 8pm kick-off at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.