UCL Preview: Thiago Ruled Out, Bayern Out to Bounce Back

UCL Preview: Thiago Ruled Out, Bayern Out to Bounce Back Photo: TT
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Pedro Neto, left, and Chelsea's Thiago Silva challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton

Thiago Silva will miss Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday although the Blues have received a double boost.

The first leg, which will take place in Bucharest, pits Spanish La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid up against Thomas Tuchel’s revitalised Chelsea who are fifth in the Premier League following a good run since the German’s arrival.

Atletico have had their wobbles domestically lately, hardly helped by a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad, which impacted numerous members including star forward Joao Felix.

As a result, the tie is appetising, with Chelsea further aided by the availability of Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic after injuries.

“I’m very happy that both Kai and Christian are in the group,” Tuchel said. “They trained with us earlier and had no complaints.

“They will travel with us and they are in the squad for tomorrow.”

On his Brazilian defender Thiago, Tuchel added: “This is a game that is certainly made for someone of Thiago’s quality but unfortunately he is not available.”

Tuchel also admitted that the fact the first leg, which is Atletico’s ‘home match’, is being played in neutral Romania was a disadvantage for the Spanish club.

He added: “In the Champions League knockout stages you need to perform at the highest level, particularly against a team like when Atletico

“Atletico are a team with a lot of experience in the competition, with a great mentality, and you know they will fight a lot.”

Meanwhile, Lazio will host Bayern Munich in the other last 16 clash on Tuesday, with the Bavarians desperate to bounce back after their own wavering domestic form, having lost 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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