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Real Madrid v Chelsea: Lampard to reunite with Ancelotti

Real Madrid continue their Champions League defence on Wednesday evening when they play host Chelsea in the first leg of the pair's quarter-final at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Saturday's 3-2 home defeat to Villarreal, combined with Barcelona's 0-0 draw against Girona 48 hours later, means Los Blancos now sit 13 points behind the Blaugrana in the La Liga standings, realistically leaving this competition and the Copa del Rey as their remaining avenues for success.

Having also played in the Club World Cup, and both domestic and European Super Cups, it has been a gruelling campaign for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

However, they will expect to overwhelm a Chelsea side whose players look both mentally fatigued and physically drained after seeing Graham Potter sacked last week and then losing their first game under the returning Lampard 1-0 at Wolves.

WhatReal Madrid v Chelsea, Champions League
WhereEstadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
When20:00, Wednesday 12th April
How to watchBT Sport 1 and Ultimate
OddsReal Madrid 7/10, Draw 11/4, Chelsea 4/1

Los Blancos often the Real deal in Europe

It is no secret that Real Madrid set more stall in this competition than any other club in world football and see their record tally of 14 European Cups as a major point of prestige.

Ancelotti‘s decision to start with Eder Militao, Federico Valverde and Luka Modric on the bench against Villarreal hints that the Italian's focus is now on claiming a 15th Champions League for his club, available at 13/2.

Real are 7/10 to win on Wednesday night and 4/9 To Qualify and have the record to back it up, losing just one of their last nine Champions League home games.

Strangely enough, that came against Chelsea in last season's quarter-finals, a topsy-turvy tie in which the Spaniards carried a 3-1 lead into the second leg at home, only to find themselves 3-0 down after 79 minutes before Rodrygo forced the tie into extra time and Karim Benzema settled it.

That was a monumental effort by Chelsea, arguably inspired by Thomas Tuchel's tactical acumen, but Lampard is still to prove he is on the same level as the coach who replaced him the first time he left Stamford Bridge in 2021.

Chelsea are 4/1 to cause an upset in Madrid and 13/8 To Qualify. A draw at 11/4 could be the best they can hope for and the key might be keeping the tie alive ahead of next Tuesday's second leg.

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Karim Benzema could haunt Chelsea again

For all their external doubters, Chelsea will continue to believe they can claim the Champions League at 14/1 To Win Outright.

With them 11th in the Premier League, 17 points behind fourth-place Manchester United, winning a third European Cup is really their only chance to qualify for next season's competition.

It could also be crucial in persuading whoever they want to permanently replace Potter, with Luis Enrique 6/5 for the role, Julian Nagelsmann 2/1 and Lampard himself 4/1 To be Manager on 01/09/2023.

However, they will need to keep a handle on Benzema, who scored a hat-trick at the Bridge last season before netting that decisive goal back at the Bernabeu.

The 35-year-old Frenchman also scored at Valdebebas when the pair met in the semi-finals of the 2020/21 season.

While he has struggled to match last season's heroics when he netted 15 goals, he scored three times over the two legs in the 6-2 aggregate last-16 win over Liverpool. He also recently grabbed hat-tricks against Valladolid and Barcelona and his last 10 Champions League goals have all come against English sides.

Benzema is 11/10 in the Anytime Goalscorers on Wednesday and 3/1 to Score First, edging ahead of Vinicius Junior, who got the only goal in last season's 1-0 final win over Liverpool. The Brazilian is 2/1 Anytime and 5/1 First, while it might be an idea to keep an eye on his compatriot Rodrygo.

The winger scored against both Chelsea and Manchester City last season and as a regular substitute, is 11/2 as the Last Goalscorer.

Chelsea hopes could hang on Kai Havertz

Saturday's defeat at Molineux was another case of the Blues looking aimless in attack and they have now failed to score in their last three games. However, this team has shown spirit this season, coming from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund in the last 16.

Kai Havertz's retaken penalty made the difference against Dortmund and, while still not entirely comfortable as a number nine, remains Chelsea's biggest threat.

The German is a tempting 5/1 Anytime, while those who like to back players to score against their former clubs can look to the 3/1 on Eden Hazard, the 11/2 about Antonio Rudiger and the 12/1 available for Mateo Kovacic in this meeting of familiar faces.

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