A sensational piece of Olivier Giroud wizardry means Atletico Madrid must conjure up some magic of their own when they visit Chelsea for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 matchup.
Thomas Tuchel remains unbeaten in 12 matches since taking over as Chelsea manager. Tuesday’s Stamford Bridge decider could provide his biggest achievement to date in the hot seat. The Blues will advance to the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2014 provided they get a draw or better, while a 1-0 Atletico win would force extra-time.
What TV Channel is Chelsea-Atletico on?
Atletico return to England’s capital seeking a second win in their last three visits to Stamford Bridge, available to watch via TUDN from 3 p.m. ET. You can live stream Champions League matches on fuboTV.
How to Watch Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid
When: Wednesday, March 17
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Giroud has benefited as much as any other player having returned to Chelsea’s starting plans following Tuchel’s appointment, with the Frenchman proving his worth at the Wanda Metropolitano in February:
Atletico are just about holding onto the driving seat in La Liga but have now failed to score in three of their last six games, a repeat of which will not serve their needs if they’re to progress.
Diego Simeone has no choice but to hand Tuchel his first defeat as Chelsea boss if Atletico are to reach the quarterfinals. It was a win on English soil that also happened to seal their spot in last season’s final eight. It’s almost one year to the day since Los Rojiblancos emerged as 3-2 extra-time winners at Anfield (4-2 on aggregate) against Liverpool, who were at the time considered something of an unstoppable force.
Unlike that round-of-16 tie from one year ago, Atleti actually lost their home game to set up an even tetchier return leg, though they still strike as one of those immovable objects with the ability to pull off what’s required. That’s despite the fact Atletico have won just two of their past seven games and are taking on a team on one of the most resilient active unbeaten runs in Europe:
Simeone, on the other hand, will be disappointed to have seen Atletico’s La Liga lead—one that once looked almost unassailable—reduced to just six points with 11 games to play. Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Getafe was bittersweet in that they failed to score against a team sat in 15th, though they at least maintained their own impenetrable record in this Madrid derby, via Euan McTear:
Jose Maria Gimenez’s return to fitness is a considerable boost for Atletico’s defense, with no other absentees of note among Simeone’s squad.
Tuchel, meanwhile, will be forced to construct a team without suspended midfielders Mason Mount or Jorginho. Defensive talisman Thiago Silva and striker Tammy Abraham were each left out of the squad that drew 0-0 at Leeds United on Saturday due to injury. It’s uncertain as to whether either will return in midweek.
Simeone’s side must win to inspire any hope of advancing in the Champions League. The team is clearly capable on the road considering no team in Spain has taken more points away from home this season. Atletico have won once in three visits to Stamford Bridge (2014), but Tuchel’s transformed Chelsea will seek to prove themselves deserving of a place among the European elite.