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Toni Kroos names the surprise Chelsea star Real Madrid will struggle to stop

Chelsea are all set to engage and lock horns with Real Madrid in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final in Spain this evening, with both sides obviously anxious to secure the first win and take the first step towards the final.

Thomas Tuchel’s Blues will going all out to put the first foot forward towards the final of this season’s UEFA Champions League when they travel to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium to face La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid this evening.

Chelsea, in progressing to the last-four of the competition for the first time since 2014 by getting the better of Portuguese outfit FC Porto in the last round, will now encounter the Spanish giants for the first time since 1998 when they met in the UEFA Super Cup.

Both Chelsea and Madrid have doled out huge sums of money in recent years, signing some of the game’s biggest starts, ranging from the likes of Eden Hazard to Timo Werner and Ferland Mendy to Ben Chilwell. In fact, last summer Chelsea were the Premier League’s driving force when it came to spending big money in the transfer market, splashing out more than £220million on seven new recruits to enable former head coach Frank Lampard to significantly bolstered his squad in an attempt to turn the Blues back into serious title contenders.

When that plan fizzled, Lampard got the axe in January and Tuchel became his successor, and now has the chance to guide Chelsea to their first Champions League final appearance since 2012. The German strategist is fully aware that his players will need to be at full throttle, as the Los Blancos boast some of the most dangerous and experienced players that both the Spanish and the Champions League have to offer.

Tuchel himself has no shortage of options available to him this evening, with Croatian star Mateo Kovacic the only confirmed absentee through injury. Kai Havertz will be amongst those all out to wrangle back a starting berth after being named on the bench against West Ham United at the weekend.

Havertz’s maiden season in England has not been going according to expectations as he would have hoped for, scoring only six goals and claiming eight assists in 38 appearances but has looked appreciably lively in recent weeks, being fielded as a false nine.

Despite not being able to maintain the same levels at Chelsea unlike when he was performing consistently at Bayer Leverkusen, Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, who is expected to return to the starting line-up this evening following an injury lay-off, is fully aware of his fellow countryman’s talents and is not leaving anything to chance.

“If he continues like this, he’ll be hard to stop,” Kroos told Bild am Sonntag, via Sport Bild, last September. “But there are no guarantees and there are always stumbling blocks in a career.

“Kai is now facing the next step and a new situation. He also has to get used to it first.”

Although having struggled in his maiden season in England, Kroos will no doubt be warning his Madrid teammates about the threat Havertz could pose this evening if he is reinstated to the starting line-up by Tuchel this evening.

Tuchel himself has recently heaped praise on Havertz, albeit pointing out his need to adapt to the Premier League.

“I’m very happy with his performance, no doubt about his quality his talent and also not about his character,” said Tuchel following the Blues’ 2-0 win over Everton last month.

“He needs to adapt to the Premier League, he needs to be at a club where you play to win every game, where the highest standards are normal. That’s a normal process also for him to adapt to this mentality.

“He showed up between the lines and used his potential to accelerate our game and to increase the touches in the box – and to be responsible for assists and through-balls, and also to take the responsibility to finish himself. And from here on we go.”

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia