Chelsea will hope to remain perched atop Group E when they take on Red Bull Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

The UEFA Champions League resumes this week after a two-week gap. The penultimate matchday of the group stage kicks off on Tuesday, with Chelsea travelling to the Red Bull Arena Salzburg to take on Red Bull Salzburg in the opening fixture of the day.

Only one point separates second-placed Red Bull Salzburg from topper Chelsea in the Group E standings. The Blues started the UEFA Champions League campaign slowly before going three games unbeaten to climb to the summit. Meanwhile, the hosts have not lost a game thus far but are second after playing out three draws in four games.

Chelsea’s domestic campaign has been promising, especially under Graham Potter. The west Londoners have won three and drawn one of their four Premier League games since Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel. On the other hand, Red Bull Salzburg might clinch another Austrian Bundesliga title after climbing to the top of the table after 13 games.

The reverse fixture, played at Stamford Bridge last month, saw Red Bull Salzburg come from a goal down to hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Red Bull Salzburg

Matthias Jaissle has a few pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Chelsea. On Tuesday, the Red Bull Salzburg manager might be bereft of the services of as many as six first-team players.

Justin Omoregie (hamstring), Ousmane Diakite (ACL), Nicolas Capaldo (knee), Dijon Kameri (shoulder), Fernando (thigh), and Sekou Koita (thigh) are on the sidelines. In addition, Jaissle has been sweating over the fitness of Luka Sucic. But the Croat should be fit enough to feature for Red Bull Salzburg against Chelsea.

Sucic will play just behind the two strikers, looking to carve out the openings in the final third. Speaking of the centre-forwards, Noah Okafor and Benjamin Sesko should form the strike partnership. So Junior Adamu will be an option on the bench.

Lucas Gourna-Douath will look to hold the fort in the middle of the park for Red Bull Salzburg, keeping Chelsea playmaker Mason Mount quiet. Maurits Kjaergaard and Nicolas Seiwald will provide defensive support to Gourna-Douath. And at the same time, the duo will aim to push Salzburg forward at every opportunity.

Oumar Solet and Strahinja Pavlovic will likely pair up at the heart of the Red Bull Salzburg defence, with Amar Dedic starting as the right-back. Captain Andreas Ulmer should be fit enough to start on the left flank, with Philipp Kohn featuring between the sticks.

Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Kohn; Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic, Ulmer; Kjaergaard, Gourna-Douath, Seiwald; Sucic; Okafor, Sesko


Like his counterpart in the Red Bull Salzburg dugout, Graham Potter does not have any new issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the Red Bull Arena Salzburg. The Chelsea manager might be without four first-team players on Tuesday.

Potter is sweating over the fitness of Kalidou Koulibaly, who missed the game against Manchester United due to knee pains. The Chelsea boss might not take a chance with the Senegalese defender. So Trevoh Chalobah should start at the back alongside Thiago Silva again.

Chelsea played better football after shifting to a 4-3-3 formation, with Mateo Kovacic being the game-changer. The Croat should feature in a midfield triumvirate again, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher starting alongside him.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Ben Chilwell will likely start as the full-backs, meaning Marc Cucurella will miss out. Meanwhile, Kepa Arrizabalaga should take his spot between the sticks, with Edouard Mendy remaining on the bench.

Raheem Sterling’s form has taken a nosedive this month, and the Englishman might make way for Christian Pulisic. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should spearhead the Chelsea attack against Red Bull Salzburg. And finally, Mason Mount will be the creator-in-chief for the visitors.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Silva, Chilwell; Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Gallagher; Mount, Aubameyang, Pulisic

Key Stats

  • The only previous European meeting between Red Bull Salzburg and Chelsea came in this season’s reverse fixture on Matchday 2, a 1-1 draw.
  • Chelsea have only played two away European matches in Austria before, losing 1-0 at Wiener Sport-Club in November 1965 in the Fairs Cup and drawing 1-1 against FK Austria Wien in November 1994 in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
  • Red Bull Salzburg are winless in all seven of their European matches against English teams (D2 L5), failing to beat Blackburn Rovers (D1 L1), Manchester City (L2), Liverpool (L2) and Chelsea (D1). It is the most they have faced teams from a single nation without defeating in major European competition.
  • Chelsea have allowed the fewest opposition passes per defensive action (8.3) among all teams in the UEFA Champions League this season.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in his last two Champions League appearances for Chelsea (two goals). The last player to find the back of the net in three outings in a row in the competition for the Blues was Willian in December 2015.

Player to Watch

Raheem Sterling

Embed from Getty Images

Raheem Sterling might not start against Chelsea. But he will likely feature off the bench, as Red Bull Salzburg will be tricky customers for the Blues. And with pundits and fans heaping criticism on the English international, the time is perfect for him to step up.

Graham Potter has already leapt to the defence of the English international. But that can only take a player so far. Sterling has to rediscover his best form and carry that momentum into the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And with only a month left for the extravaganza in Qatar, he has to get back to his top levels.


Red Bull Salzburg 1-1 Chelsea

Red Bull Salzburg and Chelsea have been two of the most formidable teams in the defensive phases this season in the UEFA Champions League. The two teams will face off in what should be a tight game on Tuesday.

The hosts have scored a goal in each of their four games thus far. And that should continue this week, with Kepa Arrizabalaga likely being instrumental in keeping the damage to only one strike. On the other end, Raheem Sterling might be buoyed by Graham Potter’s words to earn his side a point. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw between Red Bull Salzburg and Chelsea on Tuesday.

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