Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was hesitant to reveal how his team will respond to Sergio Ramos’ possible return in the second leg but admitted the defender could “answer a lot of questions” for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid could be without four players for their trip to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday but might also have defensive duo Ramos and Ferland Mendy back in the team after missing the first leg due to injuries.
It is pretty clear that Ramos’ presence, in particular, would be a huge boost for the La Liga side. Even Tuchel seemed to be very aware of that.
During the embargoed section of his press conference after Saturday’s win over Fulham, Tuchel was asked an interesting question.
Will he consider playing a traditional centre-forward, such as Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud, in response to Ramos’ potential return? Or will he stick with Kai Havertz as a false nine?
Tuchel understandably refused to answer and jokingly said: “Or maybe play no striker at all and then Ramos has nothing to fight against.
“That can also be a solution.”
The Chelsea boss, however, also admitted that the Spain international’s presence could have a big impact on the second leg.
Ramos answers ‘a lot of questions’
“I have not made mind yet [about the team selection for the second leg],” he added.
“But let’s wait if he [Ramos] is fit. When he’s fit, it’s another challenge because he is the leader of the group.
“He’s the guy who gives a lot of solutions to questions that we will hopefully ask them.
“Let’s wait and see who’s in good shape, who’s in good form, what shape we play and where we will try to hurt them.
“I’m not so sure they [Real Madrid] will play with a [back] five again or [return to back] four.
“Many questions but we don’t need the answers now, we still have time until Wednesday.”
Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf previously argued that a smaller, fast striker such as Timo Werner would cause more problems for Real Madrid defenders.
Considering how Real Madrid’s big defenders; Ramos, Raphael Varane, Eder Militao, thrive in physical battles, it could be a good response from Chelsea to just force them to deal with Werner’s pace instead.
Although, Havertz is currently in very good form and, having already spoken about wanting to start on Wednesday, arguably deserves to keep his spot as well.