Chelsea travel to Bucharest to take on Spanish league leaders Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The Blues were held to a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Southampton at the weekend, and will need a much improved performance to establish a lead going into the second leg of the knockout phase.
Diego Simeone's Atleti are sitting comfortably at the top of La Liga, but their form has dipped in recent fixtures and Los Rojiblancos will be keen to lift their levels once again to continue their progress in Europe.
Atletico Madrid - LDWDW
The Spanish side are in mixed form with just two wins in their last five, but with several key players returning after a covid outbreak, they will fancy their chances of setting the pace in the first leg.
Chelsea - WWWWD
The Blues have been on an impressive run of form in recent weeks having been on a 4 match winning run that was halted by Southampton in their last outing at the weekend.
With several players in contention to return for the clash against Atleti including Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic, Chelsea will be keen to establish their gameplay early on in the first leg and try to grab at least once crucial away goal and a positive result.
Chelsea lacked creativity and inspiration in their recent clash, and Tuchel will want to add some attacking threat for the huge opportunity to take a lead into the second leg. This could involve the re-inclusion of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic, with the back three system likely to be kept in place.
|Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea- Last Five [All Competitions]|
31st August 2012- Chelsea 1-4 Atletico Madrid
22nd April 2014- Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea
30th April 2014- Chelsea 1-3 Atletico Madrid
27th September 2017- Atletico Madrid 1-2 Chelsea
5th December 2017- Chelsea 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Chelsea will be without defensive leader Thiago Silva for the clash as he continues his recovery from a muscle injury, which could mean that Andreas Christensen will earn his place in the starting XI.
Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are set to return for the Blues, after recovering from injuries, while Callum Hudson-Odoi could regain his starting berth after being left out of the Southampton clash.
The visitors will be without Jose Gimenez, Hector Herrera and Yannick Carrasco due to injury, and Kieran Trippier will also not be available as he continues his suspension from football.
Chelsea were on a superb run of form until Saturday where gaps in the system started to appear and the Blues struggled with a lack of creativity.
However with players likely to be restored to the system that has been so successful in recent weeks such as Callum Hudson Odoi and Andreas Christensen, confidence will be high in Tuchel's side that they can get a positive result and put the tie in their hands ahead of the second leg.
The Spanish side have a superb record against Chelsea in Europe in recent years, and will hope they can enforce their usual robust and counter attacking style to frustrate the Blues in possession.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Chelsea