90 minutes separates Thomas Tuchel and his Chelsea team from a potential second consecutive UEFA Champions League final for the German, but standing in their way is the formidable and experienced European force that is Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid.
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The Spaniards remain in with a shout after a 1-1 draw in the first leg and an away goal for Los Blancos at Stamford Bridge could really open things up. With Karim Benzema on song, you would not bet against Real conjuring something up in London, but Christian Pulisic’s away goal is a good lifeline for the Blues to have if they do concede.
Los Merengues shade it with our experts, but more than one or two believe that Chelsea can get the job done. The important question is whether you do as well, so see how you prediction checks out against CBS Sports’ finest.
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All Champions League games can be viewed live and on demand on Paramount+. Let’s get to the predictions:
Chelsea vs. Real Madrid
Date: Wednesday, May 5 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network
Rongen’s take: A lone goal from Karim Benzema will secure another final for Zinedine Zidane and Co. Benz will become the outright fourth top scorer in the competition’s history overtaking Raul (71). Pick: Chelsea 0, Real Madrid 1 (Real advance 2-1 on aggregate)
Romano’s take: Real Madrid’s experience will be the real key to this match. A semifinal like a battle, Chelsea know how to defend but Real know how to thrive on European nights. Karim Benzema will be a key factor, too. Pick: Chelsea 1, Real Madrid 2 (Real advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Chiu’s take: Since Real Madrid were only able to register one shot in the first leg, this could be a good sign for Chelsea keeping a cleansheet. N’Golo Kante proved to be the most important performer for Chelsea. If he continues to get in behind and create attacking possibilities in the second leg, Chelsea will be in good hands. But they have to shut down the Real Madrid midfield (Luka Modric and Toni Kroos) again. You would think I would have learned to not bet against the experience of Real Madrid, especially with Sergio Ramos returning to fitness, but I still see Chelsea making it to the final. Pick: Chelsea 0, Real Madrid 0 (Chelsea advance 1-1 on away goals)
Echegaray’s take: This prediction is almost a carbon copy of Man City-PSG in the sense that Real Madrid enter this game with a similar predicament as the French side. Los Blancos know that in order to break down Chelsea’s formidable unit, they’re going to have to gamble and disrupt Thomas Tuchel’s well-balanced approach. In other words, they’re going to have to go for it. As opposed to Mauricio Pochettino’s task, however, this is a more doable situation for Zinedine Zidane because all he needs is a goal, and he can afford to be slightly more patient in his approach. So I am predicting the complete opposite of the first leg in this one. A cautious first half where both teams are feeling each other out, with Real Madrid going for the jugular in the second. I just don’t think it’s going to happen and just like 2019, we’ll have an all-Premier League final once again and Thomas Tuchel will return to the Championship game for the second year in a row. Pick: Chelsea 2, Real Madrid 1 (Chelsea advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Johnson’s take: Zinedine Zidane and his players get the win to reach the final as Thomas Tuchel’s current and former clubs fall just short of a date with destiny. Pick: Chelsea 1, Real Madrid 2 (Real advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Benge’s take: Chelsea have conceded two goals in the knockout rounds and both of them have been spectacular volleys that deserve to rank among the top goals of the tournament. That is what it takes to breach Thomas Tuchel’s defense and for all the attacking quality of Madrid there is no reason to believe the Blues can’t replicate their counter-punching excellence from the win over Atletico Madrid. Pick: Chelsea 2, Real Madrid 0 (Chelsea advance 3-1 on aggregate)
Gonzalez’s take: The Blues’ defense delivers once again, keeping Real Madrid from scoring as Timo Werner comes up big in the semifinal to send the Blues through. Pick: Chelsea 1, Real Madrid 0 (Chelsea advance 2-1 on aggregate)
Herrera’s take: Real Madrid’s experience will likely carry them through. Chelsea have been reliant on their defense throughout the season, but when the moment has arrived for them to put up big goals, they simply haven’t. Karim Benzema knows how to shine under UCL lights. Pick: Chelsea 1, Real Madrid 2 (Real advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Goodman’s take: Chelsea, like Manchester City, are masters of defensive possession. Real Madrid are banged up and will struggle to field a coherent starting XI. Karim Benzema is always dangerous but if any team can keep him from getting chances it’s Chelsea. The soccer may not be scintillating but Chelsea will get the job done and set up an all England Champions League final. Pick: Chelsea 1, Real Madrid 0 (Chelsea advance 2-1 on aggregate)