Zidane almost lost to Tuchel

Zidane almost lost to Tuchel

In the first semi-final match of the Champions League, Real Madrid came close to losing at home against Chelsea.

The fact that Zinedine Zidane in this Champions League mirrors the opponent's formations is no longer a secret to anyone. The Frenchman stayed true to himself this time either, reflecting the train of thought of Thomas Tuchel almost completely. Real Madrid manager’s formation looked like 3-5-2, where Marcelo and Carvajal played as laterals, Casemiro and Kroos parodied Jorginho and Kante, and Modric played a little higher.

Chelsea started the match with their usual formation. The only difference with the pre-match layouts was the position of Azpilicueta, who went to the wing and not to the center of defense to Rudiger and Silva.

Nevertheless, looking at the first minutes of the match, Tuchel figured out how to get around this simple move by Zidane. Having a quantitative advantage in the midfield and a one-to-one exchange in each section of the pitch, the German suggested to redeploy the central zone. After a series of counterattacks and a shot by Werner at Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea managed to open the score. Rudiger brilliantly shot behind the central defenders, where Varane and Nacho missed Pulisic. The American, without any particular difficulty, shot through the defenders who stood on the goal line.

This blitzkrieg by Tuchel was a success, but then Real leveled the game a little due to high pressure and equalized the score after a corner kick. There was confusion in the penalty area and the powerful body of Karim Benzema played a role when the Frenchman took the ball on the goalkeeper's line and shot through Mendy.

Then, there was a standard exchange in the match. Chelsea controlled the game, Kante acted as box-to-box, but implementation problems remained in the final stages. Still, Werner lacks confidence and at times it seemed that Olivier Giroud would be more appropriate in this game. But at the same time, he perfectly helped his partners in pressing, which is why Real often had no options how to knock the ball to Benzema with Vinicius.

In the second half of the match, the coaches, as expected, did not take risks. Zidane released Eden Hazard instead of Vinicius, who in 24 minutes did not make a single play, shot or key pass. In general, the statistics for the second 45-minute on shots was 7-4 in favor of the hosts, who, again, as expected, had more possession of the ball and initiative. In the end, the manager of Los Blancos changed to the standard 4-3-3 with an overload of the left wing, but this did not give a substantive advantage.

Chelsea confidently took the draw away and scored a goal at the same time. A very good alignment before the second leg, where Real will be in the role of catch-up. This has never happened before, and it will be interesting to see what formation Zidane will choose initially and how he will act during the game. But so far, Tuchel has all the trump cards, with which he is used to achieving results with the Blues.