As the Champions League Final at Wembley draws closer, the pressure on our three representatives has started to mount. The draw has been unfair to English clubs, as at least one of them has to leave the competition, with Chelsea and Manchester United facing each other and Tottenham clashing with Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
Spurs visit Santiago Bernabeu aiming to write another page on their dream 2010/11 European campaign. After finishing top of their group, topping holders Inter Milan, Harry Redknapp’s men went on to eliminate Italian giants AC Milan. The North Londoners have proven their ability to cope with sides much more experienced on this level, however, Real Madrid is a whole new challenge.
” Los Merengues” are back in the last-8 stage after the unusually long period of seven years! They seem capable of reaching Barcelona at the Spanish Primera Division, standing eight points behind their rivals, hence a Champions League success will help them save the season.
Jose Mourinho’s men come from a shocking 0-1 home defeat at the hands of Sporting Gijon (first home loss for Mourinho in nine years), but at the Champions League their records stands at a perfect four out of four, with 11 goals scored and a clean sheet!
Christiano Ronaldo will most likely miss the first leg due to injury, together with Karim Benzema and Marcelo, even though the Portuguese coach revealed he is willing to wait until the last moment to decide on whether to risk or not. Either way, Real Madrid still have the upper hand on this match.
Tottenham have a golden opportunity to take advantage of the home side’s absences and return to London with the advantage. Luka Modric certainly believes on his teammates’ abilities, while mentioning that Spurs even have a “slight psychological advantage,” after their opponents’ home defeat.
The following evening, Chelsea host Man Utd in a repeat of the 2008 Final in Moscow. For the hosts the matter is simple: win or die. After drawing against Stoke, the Blues seem to have lost the run for the Premier League top spot and Europe is the only way to save a catastrophic season. Ancelotti’s men have already beaten the Red Devils 2-1 at Stamford Bridge for the Premier League and another victory (preferably without conceding a goal this time).
United are on track for a tremble, just like their memorable 1999 success. They are on top of the league table with their CL quarter-final and FA Cup semi-final fixtures pending. They are not as pressured as their Wednesday opponents, an away goal will put then on track for the semi-finals, so expect Chelsea to set the pace of the game.
On other matches, Barcelona face Shakhtar Donetsk at Camp Nou on Wednesday, while 24 hours earlier, the sole remaining clubs of Italy and Germany, Inter Milan and Schalke, meet at Guiseppe Meazza.