Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea LIVE commentary: Blues open Champions League campaign with a trip to Croatia as Kepa Arrizabalaga in line for start amid Edouard Mendy struggles but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unlikely to feature – UK kick-off time, team news and how to follow

    Chelsea will be keen to lay down a marker as they open their Champions League campaign with a trip to Croatia to face Dinamo Zagreb.

    The Blues will be looking to put their uneven start to the Premier League season to one side after taking 10 points from their opening six matches.

    Tuchel’s side have lost twice already this season

    Getty

    Tuchel’s side have lost twice already this season

    Thomas Tuchel has seen his side concede nine goals already this term – which would have been double figures had VAR not come to the rescue during Chelsea’s 2-1 win over West Ham on Saturday.

    The German has completely overhauled his backline during a chaotic transfer window and will hope now that it is closed that his new-look squad will settle.

    Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea: talkSPORT commentary

    This Champions League clash will take place on Tuesday, September 6.

    talkSPORT 2 will have live coverage of the clash at the Stadion Maksimir in Croatia, with kick-off scheduled for 5:45pm/

    Commentary will come from Ian Danter and former Chelsea midfielder Andy Townsend.

    To tune in to talkSPORT or talkSPORT 2 through the website, click HERE for the live stream. You can also listen via the talkSPORT app, on DAB digital radio, through your smart speaker and on 1089 or 1053 AM.

    Chelsea could opt to bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga after Mendy errors

    AFP

    Chelsea could opt to bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga after Mendy errors

    Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea: Team news

    Tuchel has a decision to make over whether he takes Mendy out of the spot-light following a series of high profile mistakes – first in the 3-0 defeat to Leeds and then again against West Ham.

    Kepa Arrizabalaga failed to leave the club this summer and now could be handed a rare start between the sticks.

    Denis Zakaria could be handed his Chelsea debut but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is unlikely to feature due to injury.

    Ben Chilwell may feature ahead of Marc Cucurella following his goalscoring cameo off the bench against the Hammers.

    Wesley Fofana will finally fulfil his dream to play in the Champions League

    Getty

    Wesley Fofana will finally fulfil his dream to play in the Champions League

    Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea: What has been said?

    Chelsea boss Tuchel has hinted that Kepa is waiting in the wings to reclaim his No.1 spot back from Mendy.

    “Yeah, he tried [to leave]. He tried, he checked his options, which we were aware of,” Tuchel told reporters.

    “They were not satisfying for him, for us. So he stayed.

    “I’m very happy about that. I was always very clear, directly to him that I’d love him to stay. And in my point of view, he’s absolutely ready to play.

    “So it’s on us if we give him the chance or not. It’s on us, but he is 100 per cent ready how he behaves. How he trains is very, very good.”

    Asked whether he will give Kepa a chance, he replied: “First we deal with the players and then we tell you.”

    Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea: Match stats

    • Having played for both Liverpool and Manchester City previously in the competition, Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling is set to become the fifth player to play in the UEFA Champions League for three different English clubs, after David Batty (Blackburn, Leeds, Newcastle), Kolo Touré (Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City), William Gallas (Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham) and Yossi Benayoun (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool).
    • Mislav Orsic is Dinamo Zagreb’s all-time leading goalscorer in major European competitions with 17 goals (excl. qualifiers), while the Croatian is also the club’s top European Cup/Champions League scorer having scored four goals in his only previous season in the competition (2019-20).
    • This will be Ante Cacic’s second UEFA Champions League campaign as Dinamo Zagreb manager, also taking charge of them for five of their six group games in 2012-13, losing them all. Defeat to Chelsea in this game will mean that he moves joint-second for most Champions League matches by any manager without ever avoiding defeat, behind only Dorinel Munteanu (nine games).
    • For the first time since 2010-11, Chelsea’s first UEFA Champions League group stage match of a campaign will be played away from home. The Blues have lost their first match of a season in the competition just twice in their 18 previous participations (W11 D5), defeats to Basel (2013-14) and Valencia (2019-20).
    • Chelsea have only lost one of their last 11 away games in the UEFA Champions League (W8 D2), a 0-1 defeat at Juventus in September 2021. Indeed, that defeat in Turin is their only loss in their last 17 group stage matches home and away in the competition (W11 D5).
    • Dinamo Zagreb have won just five of their 42 UEFA Champions League matches (D7 L30), including only two of their last 33 (D4 L27). Among clubs to play 30+ games in the competition, only AEK Athens (7%) and FCSB (10%) have a poorer win rate than Zagreb (12%).
    • Chelsea are featuring in the UEFA Champions League for a 19th time, moving them level with Arsenal and behind only Manchester United (24) for most participations by English clubs in the competition proper. The Blues have progressed from 17 of their 18 previous opening group stages, failing only in 2012-13 as defending champions.
    • This will be Dinamo Zagreb’s eighth season in the UEFA Champions League, the only Croatian club to participate in the competition proper more than once. However, Zagreb have been eliminated from the opening group stage in all seven of their previous campaigns, with only Club Brugge (nine) featuring in more group stages in the competition without ever progressing.
    • Chelsea will be the ninth English side to face Dinamo Zagreb in all European competitions; the Croatian club have won two of their last three meetings with English opponents (L1), as many as their first 16 such matches beforehand (W2 D3 L11).
    • This will be the first ever European meeting between Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea. In fact, Zagreb will be Chelsea’s first ever Croatian opponent in a competitive match. The Blues last faced a side from a particular nation in European competition for the very first time in October 2018, beating Belarussian outfit BATE Borisov 3-1 in the UEFA Europa League.

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