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Date: Tuesday, October 1 Venue: Arena Nationala Kick-Off: 19:45
Chelsea take on Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League tonight knowing another defeat could lead to a second group stage elimination in two years.
Steaua Bucharest manager Laurentiu Reghecampf is sweating over the fitness of Mihail Pintili and Cristian Tanase as he prepares to welcome Chelsea to the Arena Nationala in Tuesday night’s Group E Champions League clash.
Both will face late fitness tests ahead of kick off.
Chelsea will be without Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, while Marco Van Ginkel is out for the rest of the season.
Michael Essien has also not travelled, though Fernando Torres is eligible as his domestic ban following his red card against Tottenham at the weekend does not carry over into European competition.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides.
No Romanian club has ever scored more than one goal against English opposition in the Champions League (eight games).
Chelsea have won only two of their last 10 Champions League games away from home (three draws, five defeats).
Jos Mourinho has failed to win his last three Champions Leage games with Chelsea (one draw, two defeats).
Tatarusanu, Georgievski, Szukala, Gardos, Latovlevici, Pintilii, Bourceanu, Popa, Stanciu, Tanase, Kapetanos
Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, Schurrle, Torres
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Almost one year ago, Chelsea were eliminated from the Champions League, becoming the first defending champions to exit in the group stage of the famous club competition.
That resulted in the sacking of boss Roberto Di Matteo and returning manager Jose Mourinho must therefore be feeling a little hot under the collar, with the Blues slumping to a 2-1 defeat to Basel two weeks ago.
Chelsea are sitting bottom of Group E alongside tonight’s opponents and both are without a win after Bucharest lost to Schalke in matchday one of the tournament.
Both therefore will be going all out to secure those vital three points tonight.
This is the first ever encounter between the two sides, but Chelsea have a few statistical advantages in that no Romanian side has ever scored more than one goal against English opposition in the Champions League.
That being said, Mourinho has failed to win his last three games in the Champions League with Chelsea, drawing once and losing twice.
If these two sides are to avoid being cut adrift in Group E, one of those statistics probably has to end tonight.
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