Real Madrid vs Chelsea UCL (1 - 1) - Chelsea has the advantage heading into second leg against Real Madrid in Stamford Bridge

There was a feeling of disappointment following the final whistle at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Tuesday evening. Chelsea and Real Madrid played out a wildly entertaining 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, but Blues supporters felt they deserved a decisive victory. Thomas Tuchel’s tactical masterclass helped his side earn a crucial away goal. Even though the game’s advantage was later scrapped by Karim Benzema’s world class equalizer, Chelsea can be proud of its performance.

The Blues had Los Blancos right where they wanted them for much of this match, which is why many believe a one-all tie was simply not good enough. However, the fact of the matter is, Chelsea is 90 minutes away from a Champions League final. The Blues have an advantage on their Spanish foes heading into the second leg of the semifinals at Stamford Bridge.

The most obvious leg up the fact the English side will be playing at home in the return leg. Chelsea may not have its 40,000 faithful fans singing in support, but don’t underestimate the importance of playing on familiar turf. 

The Blues will be sleeping in their own beds for the next week and they’ll be playing in a ground they know better than anyone else. Stamford Bridge is often referred to as a fortress, Tuchel have the opportunity to channel the club’s history in order to advance to Istanbul in a few weeks’ time.

While playing at home is undoubtedly an important advantage to have, the biggest edge the Blues possess is the pivotal away goal. We can sit and talk about hypothetical scenarios for the second leg until we’re blue in the face, but the reality is Chelsea has an away goal in this tie and Real Madrid currently does not. Zinedine Zidane’s men just have to score once to erase the slim lead. That being said, even that has proven difficult when facing Tuchel’s Blues.

 Chelsea has kept clean sheets in every home game under the German besides West Brom (unless you count the “home” leg of the quarterfinal tie against Porto, which wasn’t in west London). The tie may be level on paper, but all of the onus falls on Real Madrid. Los Blancos have to score in order to give themselves a chance to advance.

Opportunities won’t come easy for the visitors either. The Blues’ defense was superb in the first leg, it was a moment of brilliance from Benzema away from shutting the Spaniards out. The Frenchman’s wonder strike was the only shot on target that Real Madrid registered in the entire match. Further, it was just the fourth goal Chelsea has conceded in 11 Champions League contests this season. Tuchel sets his side up in a way that is nearly impossible to break down. Two world class goals have been scored on the Blues, that luck surely cannot continue, so you have to fancy the home team to advance.

Lastly, history is on Chelsea’s side. The Blues have now played four competitive matches against world football’s largest club and have yet to lose. Real Madrid has never conquered Tuchel either. The German manager is 1-4-0 against Los Blancos all time. This is more of a statistical tidbit than it is an advantage in the field of play, but the knowledge of such history always provides a bit of motivation for both sides.

Chelsea fans are largely disappointed following a draw, feeling as if their team deserved more from the match. Nevertheless, the Blues have the leg up heading into next week’s winner-take-all at Stamford Bridge.

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