Key Chelsea midfielder to miss Real Madrid clash but defender passed fit

    Midfielder Mateo Kovacic will miss Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid through injury.

    The former Madrid man has failed to overcome a hamstring problem in time to take on his old team. The Blues are level at 1-1 going into the return leg at Stamford Bridge after Christian Pulisic’s strike in Spain netted them a vital away goal.

    However, Toni Rudiger has been passed fit to play. The Germany defender will have to wear a protective mask after a facial injury.

    Thomas Tuchel is unlikely to make many changes to his side for the pivotal clash having watched his side outplay their opponents for large portions of the first leg.

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    Tuchel backs impressive Kante

    Meanwhile, Tuchel has backed N’Golo Kante to complete his set of football’s top prizes as Chelsea chase Champions League glory.

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    Kante has lifted the Premier League with Leicester and Chelsea, and the World Cup with France, but Europe’s top club crown has so far avoided him.

    The 30-year-old will assume a pivotal role in Chelsea’s semi-final second leg with Real, with the scores locked at 1-1 from the first encounter.

    Blues boss Tuchel tipped Kante to drive Chelsea on once again on Wednesday night, hailing the midfielder.

    Asked if completing the set by winning the Champions League would elevate Kante’s career to new heights, Tuchel said: “Where to? Where to elevate?

    “The guy is a top guy, and he is the guy you need to win trophies, obviously, that’s why we’re so, so happy he’s here.

    “I was fighting for this player and dreaming about this player in any club I was coaching. And now he’s my player.

    “He’s won every trophy except for the Champions League, hopefully he will do everything to get this trophy.

    “For me he’s an example, and an unbelievable input for any team in the world. He’s key and he will be key tomorrow, and I hope in the best way possible.”

    READ MORE: Chelsea top man close to signing well-earned contract extension


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