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Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger Strengthen Chelsea’s Defensive Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League

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Champions League

Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger have bolstered Chelsea’s defensive options ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Malmo.

 

The centre-back pair missed Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win at Brentford, but were both back in training on Monday.

 

Experienced centre-back Silva only returned from Brazil duty on Friday afternoon, leaving the 37-year-old short of preparation time for the Brentford trip.

 

Germany defender Rudiger picked up a minor back issue on national team duty and was forced to sit out the Blues’ gritty win on the road.

 

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  • Chelsea and Malmö FF faced in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League in 2018-19, with the English side winning both games and 5-1 on aggregate (2-1 away, 3-0 home).
  • Chelsea have never lost against a Swedish side in UEFA European competition (W3 D3), avoiding defeat against Åtvidabergs FF in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971-72 (D2), Helsingborgs IF in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998-99 (W1 D1) and Malmö in the Europa League in 2018-19 (W2).
  • This is the first meeting between English and Swedish teams in the UEFA Champions League since the first group stage in 1999-00, when Arsenal played AIK and beat them twice. Malmö’s only previous meeting in the European Cup with an English team was in the 1979 final, losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest in Munich.
  • Chelsea have only lost two of their last 48 home UEFA Champions League group stage matches (W33 D13), losing to Basel in 2013-14 and Valencia in 2019-20. Current boss Thomas Tuchel has only lost one of his 13 home group stage matches (W10 D2): a 2-1 defeat to Man Utd as PSG manager last season.
  • This will be Thomas Tuchel’s 10th game in charge of Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. The Blues have only conceded three goals under the German so far, which would be the joint-fewest through a manager’s first 10 games of a club in the competition (along with Fabio Capello at AC Milan and José Mourinho in Real Madrid), if they keep a clean sheet against Malmö FF.
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