Thomas Tuchel and his players travel to Romania rather than Madrid for this first leg, as a result of coronavirus-related travel rules, for the clubs’ first clash against one another since December 2017. A 1-1 group-stage draw was the result in London that time around, three months after Chelsea’s 2-1 victory in the capital of Spain.
Back then, Tuchel was still Borussia Dortmund coach, but following a spell at Paris Saint-Germain the German joined the Blues this January after the team had already safely made their way through the group stage of this season’s Champions League. And he will seek to go one step further with the Premier League outfit than he did last term with PSG, whom he took to the final of the tournament, where they lost to Bayern Munich.
The Blues eased through the group stage unbeaten under former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard earlier this season, 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.