It was the Karim Benzema show in the first leg at Stamford Bridge as the prolific Frenchman scored a 25-minute hat-trick, claiming his second successive Champions League match ball, having put PSG to the sword the round prior. Chelsea now face an uphill battle to overturn a 3-1 deficit from that opening tie.
The reigning European champions looked to have shifted momentum back in their favour after going 2-0 down in west London after Kai Havertz nodded home just before half-time. But Carlo Ancelotti’s men came flying out of the traps after the restart and restored their two-goal cushion just a minute into the second half.
Benzema capitalised on a collector’s item mistake from the usually-impervious Edouard Mendy, who registered his first error leading to a goal in the competition from 20 appearances, while the three he conceded against Real was as many as he had let in across his previous 10 Champions League games combined.
Of course, these sides met in Madrid during last season’s semi-finals, though that showing was at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano owing to the renovations being carried out at the Bernabeu, so this will actually be the first time Chelsea have faced Real at their sacred home. And they could do with a statement win to mark the occasion.
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Real Madrid vs Chelsea: Match Stats
Karim Benzema’s three goals at the Bridge has moved him to 11 for the campaign in the Champions League, which is just one below current top scorer Robert Lewandowski (12) and actually already makes him the most prolific Frenchman in the competition’s history for a single season. His 11 goals this term is as many as he had scored in the previous two seasons combined (six in 2020/21 and five in 2019/20).
Benzema’s form in front of goal can be somewhat attributed to burgeoning acceleration of Vinicius Junior, whom he has forged a near-telepathic understanding with this campaign. In fact, Benzema (one) and Vinicius (four) have assisted each other a combined five times in the Champions League this season; the most of any teammate duo. Indeed, Vinicius’ four assists for Benzema is also the most from one player to another in 2021/22.
06 Apr 2022 – Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid – Champions League
05 May 2021 – Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid – Champions League
27 Apr 2021 – Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea – Champions League
28 Aug 1998 – Real Madrid 0-1 Chelsea – Super Cup
21 May 1971 – Chelsea 2-1 Real Madrid – Cup Winners’ Cup
The standout fixture is of course that 1-1 draw in Madrid last term. Thomas Tuchel’s men traveled to Real’s temporary digs and brought a 1-1 back to the Bridge, where they proceeded to run riot at home. Christian Pulisic broke the deadlock after 14 minutes, but that man, Benzema, restored parity shortly after. For the home 2-0 win, goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount got the job done and booked Chelsea a ticket to the final where, of course, they beat Man City 1-0.