Thomas Tuchel will take charge of Chelsea in the Champions League for the first time when the Blues stare down Atletico Madrid at Bucharest’s Arena Națională on Tuesday. One of several first-leg fixtures moved to neutral territory as a result of coronavirus protocols, Los Rojiblancos will hope the change has a positive impact going by their history in this fixture.
What TV Channel is Atletico Madrid-Chelsea on?
Chelsea are still yet to taste defeat with Tuchel in charge, but Atletico will present the German his toughest test in the role to date, with kick-off set for 3 p.m. ET on CBSSN. You can live stream Champions League matches on fuboTV.
How to Watch Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea
When: Tuesday, February 23
Where: Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Atletico have hosted Chelsea on three occasions but never won (two draws, one loss). A 94th-minute strike from Michy Batshuayi sealed a 2-1 upset the only time these teams met at the Wanda Metropolitano (September 2017), leading to some special Antonio Conte sideline delirium:
That was Diego Simeone’s only defeat to Chelsea in five encounters (two wins, two draws), and all three knockout meetings have gone in favor of the Atletico chief. His first run-in was a 4-1 triumph in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup, which he’ll hope is a sign of things to come when these two titans go to battle with no ‘official’ host.
Tuchel will face Atletico for the first time in his career in what promises to be a difficult European baptism with the Blues, though far from an impossible given the ‘home’ side’s recent form. It wasn’t long ago La Liga’s leaders looked near-certain to win the crown, but a 2-0 loss at home to Levante on Saturday leaves them with one win in their last four and only three points in front of rivals Real Madrid:
Atletico suffered with a list of injuries and will still be without Yannick Carrasco and Sime Vrsaljko, while central defender Jose Gimenez looks likely to miss out after he was forced off against Levante.
Right-back Kieran Trippier is also suspended while Hector Herrera will miss out following a positive COVID-19 test earlier in February, though Moussa Dembele and Thomas Lemar are back in contention following quarantine. Saul Niguez and Stefan Savic offer some boost to the team in midfield and defense, respectively, having been suspended for this weekend’s home defeat.
Chelsea’s injury worries are far less extensive, with defensive talisman Thiago Silva the only known absence for Tuchel. Speaking to the media this week, the former Paris Saint-Germain chief detailed his attempts to sign Luis Suarez this past summer when it became clear the striker would leave Barcelona:
Suarez is the joint-top scorer in La Liga this season, with only former teammate Lionel Messi matching his 16 goals. The Uruguayan has scored twice and recorded four assists in nine previous meetings with the west Londoners, helping knock the Blues out at this stage in 2018.
In fact, Chelsea are hoping to dodge a fifth straight elimination in the Champions League round of 16, with last year’s tournament ended by a 7-1 aggregate humbling at the hands of eventual champions Bayern Munich. A positive result in Romania aids their chances all the more ahead of the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge on March 17, but even an out-of-form Atletico is not to be underestimated.