Match Preview: FC Steaua Bucharest vs Chelsea FC
Chelsea will look to open their points account in the UEFA Champions League this Tuesday when they take on Steaua Bucharest on Matchday 2. Chelsea suffered an unexpected loss against Basel at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 1, while their Romanian opponents received a 3-0 drubbing in the hands of Schalke 04.
DATE & TIME: October 1, 2013 at 14:45 EDT; October 1, 2013 at 18:45 GMT;October 1, 2013 at 19:45 BST; October 1, 2013 at 19:45 WAT; October 1, 2013 at 20:45 CAT; October 1, 2013 at 21:45 EAT; October 2, 2013 at 00:15 IST.
VENUE: Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania.
TV/STREAMING NEWS: Chelsea TV will stream the game live. The match will be telecast live on Sky Sports 1/2 in Austria, Al Jazeera Sport HD5 & Al Jazeera Sport+3 in African sub-continent, Sportsnet 360 in Canada, Sky Sport 1 HD/2 HD/2 in Germany, Ten HD in India, Sky Calcio 5 in Italy, J Sports 4 in Japan, Gol Stadium, C+ Liga de Campeones 4/HD in Spain, Al Jazeera Sport HD5/+3 in UAE, Sky Sports 4/HD in UK and Fox Sports 2 in USA.
CHELSEA FC SQUAD NEWS: Eden Hazard and Marco van Ginkel are not available for selection because of injury. Kevin de Bruyne has been dropped from the matchday squad and has not travelled to Romania. Michael Essien is not a part of the Champions League squad as per the list submitted to UEFA by the club.Mourinho confirmed after the Tottenham match that Mata will start against Steaua after his impressive second half display, which helped Chelsea to gain a point at White Hart Lane. Here is what he had to say: “I think this is the way players have to say I want to play, blah blah blah is not good, conversations with the press aren’t good, what’s good is the effort he made against Swindon, it’s the way he changed the team in the second half and because of that I’m very happy and I can say with 72 hours in advance, he plays in Steaua Bucharest, he earned that himself.”
Predicted Starting XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Oscar, Schuerrle, Torres.
STEAUA BUCHAREST SQUAD NEWS: Steaua will be without the services of Stephen Nikolic and Alexandru Chipciu, both of whom are out with injury. Mihai Pintilii is a doubt after he picked up a knock during training. There are no suspensions and the rest of the squad is available for selection. There is a possibility Steaua manager, Laurenţiu Reghecampf will go with an unchanged eleven from the previous matchday.
Predicted Starting XI: Tatarusanu, Georgievski, Gardos, Szukala, Latovlevici, Bourceanu, Pintilii, Cristea,Tanase, Popa, Piovaccari.
REFEREE: Carlos Velasco Carballo(Spain).
TACTICAL OVERVIEW: Steaua are an unknown commodity for most football fans who do not follow the Romanian Premier League regularly. At the moment, Steaua have opened up a convincing lead in their domestic league standings. Steaua started strongly against Schalke on the previous matchday, as they displayed a strong rear-guard action, courtesy to their robust back line, before the first Schalke goal completely rattled the visitors and they went downhill. Against the Blues, Steaua will look to sit back, soak up pressure and hit on fast counters. In previous occasions, when Chelsea have travelled to Romania, they have had problems in breaking down the opponent defense. The Blues need to start well and maintain a constant tempo if they want to come home with a win.
- Chelsea will play Steaua for the first time in UEFA Champions League, having already beaten the Romanian club during their Europa League winning run.
- Chelsea lost the away tie 1-0 before securing a 3-1 home win against Steaua in the Europa League last season.
- Steaua are the only Romanian club to have triumphed in Europe, winning the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1985/86 by defeating FC Barcelona in a penalty shoot-out.
- This tie will be Chelsea’s 50th game in Europe.
- Steaua will be Jose Mourinho’s first Romanian opponent. Chelsea, however, faced CFR Cluj in 2008/09 group stages of Champions League.
- Chelsea’s biggest away win in Europe came against Jeunesse Hautcharage in 1971 by a 8-0 margin while Steaua’s biggest home win came against Young Boys Berne in 1979 in a 6-0 hammering.
IN A NUTSHELL: Chelsea must get three points here, if they want to avoid “a must win” scenario in the last four group stage matches. Mourinho will want a strong reaction from the boys after their loss against Basel and the travelling fans would love to see a exhilarating display from the Londoners.