Champions League: Revalidation at Stamford Bridge | sports

Real Madrid and Chelsea found themselves in a situation like this last year, a new Champions League tie like the one that begins this Wednesday at Stamford Bridge (9:00 p.m., Movistar Champions League), then also a test for both, although with different meanings in each case. This time it is very similar to that one, but it is not the same, although it is also played under the influence of external factors that can have an enormous weight. If last year the pandemic ruled with its empty stadiums, its masks and its fears, this season Chelsea is shaken by the force of a war started by Russia that has left the club shivering with uncertainty. On the other side, still the coronavirus, which kept Carlo Ancelotti confined in Madrid on Tuesday, with a PCR a day, still hoping that this Wednesday’s test would come out negative and he could fly to London.

Thibaut Courtois, Madrid’s only voice in the preview before the media, tried to play down the importance of playing the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals without the coach on the bench: “We are lucky that the second is his son, and it’s pretty similar,” he joked. In the last training session, Davide Ancelotti spoke on the pitch at Stamford Bridge surrounded by the players, with his father always in the background, as Courtois recalled: “Sometimes he has participated in a video chat. And he has a good technical team that has done very well in Vigo”.

In any case, both the goalkeeper and the voices of the team that have been heard in recent days agree on the essential factor that they believe should permeate his performance this Wednesday: “Intensity”, described Courtois. “The good thing is that we played last year against them and we know where we failed.” The echoes of that elimination last May still fly over the team and the name that, to make up for what they lacked, is repeated as a novelty in the eleven: Fede Valverde.

On the other hand, the Chelsea coach, Thomas Tuchel, promised a “physical, intense” clash, and said that these two upcoming games against Madrid “have nothing to do with last year’s.” He assured that he had not even reviewed them, because it was a different team, with a different coach. By then, moreover, he was already almost in the scrapes due to injuries. More than in Madrid, Tuchel seems busy dispelling doubts about Saturday’s defeat at home against Brentford (1-4) and dispelling concerns about the appearance of a new owner from whom he asks for “a strong team, confidence and support ”.

In addition, he spoke of Madrid as a rival in decline, a very similar and very successful team for a long time: “It is normal for cycles to change,” he said.

For Real, the tie is not so much a rematch as a stress test of their future direction, against a solid, high-tempo side that has already exploited its aging fatigue once.

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