Arena Națională in Bucharest is the venue, as Atletico Madrid and Chelsea go head-to-head in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.
Thomas Tuchel will make his managerial debut in the Champions League for Chelsea. Frank Lampard guided the Londoners through the group stage before being sacked in January.
Standing in Chelsea’s way are Atletico, a side they share a perfectly balanced head-to-head record with (W2, D3, L2).
The La Liga leaders have reached the Champions League knockout stage for the seventh time in eight years, only failing to make it to the quarter-finals once in the last six attempts.
Atletico Madrid Preview
Atletico suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Levante at the Wanda Metropolitano over the weekend. It was Los Colchoneros’ first home reverse in all competitions since a 1-0 La Liga loss to Barcelona in December 2019,
However, Diego Simeone’s men have not lost a European home match since 2017. Curiously, Chelsea were the last team to outscore Atletico away from home in a major European competition.
Simeone can take confidence from the fact he has never lost a home game in the Champions League knockout stages as a manager. He boasts an impressive win-ratio of 69.23% (GP13 – W9, D4).
Given the Argentinean’s defensive-minded football philosophy, it comes as no surprise that Atletico have kept a clean sheet in 11 of their last 12 home games in the knockout phase.
Thomas Tuchel has been the catalyst to reinvigorate a struggling Chelsea side, turning them into a force to be reckoned with. The Blues have not lost any of their seven competitive matches under the German tactician, winning five and drawing two.
With Tuchel in the dug-out, each of Chelsea’s four competitive away outings has produced a full-time margin of under 1.5 goals (W3, D1), with the deciding goal coming from the spot-kick on two occasions.
The Blues won each of their three away games in the Champions League group stage, scoring a tournament-high ten goals in the process.
Yannick Carrasco, Hector Herrera, and Jose Maria Gimenez have all trained separately over the last few days and are unlikely to feature against the Premier League heavyweights.
Thiago Silva is on the sidelines for Chelsea due to a thigh injury, while Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount both picked up knocks during the 1-1 draw with Southampton.
According to the Evening Standard, Kai Havertz will stake his claim for a place in Tuchel’s starting XI after returning from injury.
Atletico Madrid (3-5-2-1): Jan Oblak; Mario Hermoso, Felipe; Stefan Savic; Marcus Llorente; Koke; Saul Niguez; Renan Lodi; Angel Correa; Joao Felix; Luis Suarez.
Chelsea (3-5-2-1): Edouard Mendy; Antonio Rudiger; Kurt Zouma; Cesar Azpilicueta; Marcos Alonso; Mateo Kovacic; N’Golo Kante; Reece James; Mason Mount; Christian Pulisic; Timo Werner.
You can watch Atletico Madrid v Chelsea and all the other Champions League games live online.