Thomas Tuchel’s Blues will be the ‘away’ team in this last-16 first leg fixture, which was moved from Spain to Romania due to Covid-related travel rules. The last time these clubs met was December 2017, when they recorded a 1-1 group-stage stalemate in the English capital. Three months prior, Chelsea achieved a 2-1 victory in Madrid.
Chelsea have employed three new managers since those meetings, with Tuchel joining this January after the club had already secured safe passage out of the first round of this season’s Champions League. And the former Paris Saint-Germain coach will aim to go one step further with the Premier League team than he did last term with his Ligue 1 side, whom he led to the final of the competition, where they came up short against Bayern Munich.
The Blues eased through the group stage unbeaten under former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard earlier this term, while Diego Simeone’s La Liga leaders Atletico responded to a 4-0 loss against defending champions Bayern in gameweek 1 by avoiding further defeats over the course of the rest of the group stage.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s match.
The game kicks off at 8pm GMT this evening.
The match will air live on BT Sport, with subscribers also able to stream the action live on the broadcaster’s website and app.
Atletico are without centre-back Jose Gimenez, who is suffering from a muscle issue, but Stefan Savic returns from suspension for this evening’s game. Winger Yannick Carrasco will be absent for the Spanish side, also suffering from a muscle injury, and Sime Vrsaljko is another absentee. Hector Herrera, meanwhile, is out due to a positive coronavirus test result.
For Chelsea, central defender Thiago Silva will be missing – another victim of a muscular problem – while midfielders Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are both doubts. Tammy Abraham is fit, having recently overcome an ankle injury.
Atletico: Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Hermoso; Llorente, Kondogbia, Koke, Saul, Lodi; Felix, Suarez
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Abraham, Werner
Expect a nervy clash in Romania, with Chelsea managing to grab a crucial ‘away’ goal to set up a nail-biting second leg next month. Atletico 1-1 Chelsea.