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Hazard in for Asensio; Kroos returns

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Eden Hazard is in line for a starting berth while Toni Kroos is back in contention as Real Madrid take on Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final.

Real Madrid will be aiming to take a step towards the finals of the UEFA Champions League when they lock horns with Chelsea in the semi-final first leg on Tuesday night at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has been handed a boost on the injury front as midfielder Toni Kroos is back in contention after missing the last two matches. However, the Merengues will be without Sergio Ramos, Ferland Mendy, Federico Valverde and Lucas Vazquez for the blockbuster counter.

Speaking in his pre-match presser, Zidane provided an update on his squad, saying: “Toni is fine and will be available. Ferland isn’t ready yet. He’s still got some work to do.”

Real Madrid vs Chelsea Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

Thibaut Courtois will be the undisputed starter between the sticks for Real Madrid while the centre-back partnership of Raphael Varane and Eder Militao should shield him. Dani Carvajal, who made his first start since returning from injury against Real Betis last time out, should get the nod at right-back while Nacho is expected to retain his place at left-back ahead of Marcelo in Mendy’s absence.

The returning Kroos should walk right back into the starting XI, slotting in as the left-sided central midfielder. The German international will have his usual partners-in-crime, Casemiro and Luka Modric, alongside him in the middle of the park against Chelsea. Isco will be an option from the bench for Real Madrid.

Moving into the attacking third, Eden Hazard could be in line for a starting berth against his former club, having made his return from injury at the weekend. The Belgian looked sharp in his cameo and Zidane provided an update on his condition heading into the game.

“He’s fine. He was very comfortable when he played the other day and that was the most important thing: he didn’t feel any pain. He’s ready to go now. We’re happy he’s available because he’s going to bring a lot to the team,” the manager said. Hazard should slot into the starting XI on the left flank, at the expense of Marco Asensio.

Vinicius Junior has been in good nick of late and should replace Rodrygo Goes on the right-wing. There is no looking past Karim Benzema for the centre-forward slot when Real Madrid face Chelsea on Tuesday.

Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Varane, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vinicius, Benzema, Hazard.



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