Thomas Tuchel takes his first steps into the Champions League as Chelsea head coach this evening when his side face Atletico Madrid in the last 16.
The Blues were handed one of the tougher draws in the round of 16 as they were paired with the La Liga leaders. Tonight’s game will take place in Bucharest rather than at the Wanda Metropolitano, owing to coronavirus travel restrictions.
The Spanish side have been in Romanian capital a little longer than the Blues, who departed for the continent on Monday afternoon.
One player who didn’t travel was Thiago Silva with the defender not named in the 23-man squad as he has failed to fully recover from a thigh injury sustained against Tottenham Hotspur and has missed the last three games.
Two who did make the trip however were Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz. The duo missed the weekend draw with St Mary’s but have been included for the European tie and flew out with the squad on Monday.
Tuchel has a couple of selection dilemmas on his hands with an almost fully fit squad and the German is looking forward to the tie.
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He said on Monday at his pre-match press conference: “I am totally into Chelsea, totally into this club, and 100% into this team. That is why it does not feel so strange anymore, it feels natural to arrive now with my team in Bucharest and I am very happy to arrive with this group.
“We feel strong. We know we have to be strong and brave and have the courage to play against a strong Atletico but this is the challenge we are looking forward to.”
With all that in mind, here is how we think the Blues might lineup in Bucharest this evening: Mendy; James, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso; Kante, Kovacic, Mount; Werner, Giroud.
We have once again gone with the back five for the Blues but with one change from the draw with Southampton on Monday as Andreas Christensen…