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Thomas Tuchel outlines how Chelsea will play against Real Madrid with key midfielder ruled out

Chelsea will be without Mateo Kovacic for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid but Antonio Rudiger is fit for tomorrow’s game.

Kovacic has missed the past three weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury in the final training session ahead of the quarter-final second leg against Porto.

Rudiger, meanwhile, suffered a facial injury in last week’s 1-1 draw against Real Madrid and missed the weekend Premier League victory over Fulham.

But the German centre-back trained yesterday in a specially made mask and Tuchel says Rudiger is ready to return when Real take on the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

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Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Tuchel said: “I can give you the status right now which is that Mateo will not be in the squad. I believe Toni will be playing in a mask because he trained yesterday with it.

“Everybody else trained and is in training today. So hopefully we will have no new injuries or re-injuries from today’s training. That means everybody is available apart from Mateo Kovacic.”

Chelsea head into tomorrow’s game with the narrowest of advantages; Christian Pulisic’s away goal in the Spanish capital means a goalless draw is enough for Tuchel’s side to progress.

In the first leg, Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane opted to match the Blues’ three-man defensive system but with Ferland Mendy and Sergio Ramos expected to return, there is the possibility the La Liga giants revert to their tried and trusted 4-3-3.

Tuchel was asked ahead of the game what shape he expected Zidane to use and the Chelsea head coach was insistent that didn’t overly matter in the grand scheme of the contest.

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