One wants to end his scoring curse, the other to be a wall: Timo Werner and Sergio Ramos will star in a duel looking to the Champions final on Wednesday in the semis round of the continental tournament between Real Madrid and Chelsea.
After the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Spain, the two figures will face each other wanting to make up for lost time: Werner because he did not score in the first leg, Ramos because he did not play (injured in the calf).
Ramos’ return, booked last weekend, comes at the best moment: the merengue captain returns just as Real Madrid lost Raphael Varane, injured in the right thigh on Saturday in the 2-0 league win against Osasuna .
Like Eden Hazard, who started Saturday in LaLiga, Ramos is living a nightmare season, undermined by injuries.
In a decisive year in which he has to negotiate the renewal of his contract with Real Madrid (which ends on June 30), Ramos has missed five games between November and December due to a muscle injury in his right thigh, and then was he operated on his left knee in early February, missing two months of competition.
– White wall –
After returning in mid-March, he only played two games for Real Madrid (against Elche in the League and Atalanta in the Champions League) before injuring himself again, now in the right calf, in a match with the Spanish team at the end of march against Kosovo.
After a month of recovery, in which he also contracted covid-19, Ramos resumed collective training last week, to reach the end of the season and this crucial European meeting on time.
In his absence, the merengue defensive wall has remained intact with a single goal conceded in the last six games: the one scored by Christian Pulisic in the Champions League first leg.
It was the only night in almost a month in which the white defense of three centrals showed signs of weakness, leaving too much free field for the ‘Blues’ to attack the goal of Thibaut Courtois, especially on the left in the absence of Ferland Mendy (touched on the left calf).
On the sidelines of this meeting, the defensive solidity of Madrid was praised by ‘Zizou’ himself at a press conference on Friday: “Defensively, we do things well, we work together.”
– Adaptation season –
To overcome this defense, Thomas Tuchel will have Werner.
But the 25-year-old striker, introduced in his early days with Leipzig as Germany’s great scorer of the years 2010, has not finished justifying the 53 million euros ($ 63.6 million) paid by Chelsea to the start of the season with only six goals in the Premier League and three in the group stage of the Champions League.
Without getting to Ramos’ nightmare, Werner seems to be going through a difficult period of adaptation, despite having the confidence of his two coaches Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
His winning goal on April 24 against West Ham (1-0), crucial because it put Chelsea in a good position to qualify for the next Champions League, was a liberation, after more than months without scoring.
However, the German international knows how to put himself at the service of the team, going to duels, keeping the ball and working on defense.
And against Real Madrid, his speed and his ability to attack spaces could be the best weapons of the ‘Blues’.