Deadline day signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Zakaria have been included in the travelling Chelsea squad for the Blues’ UEFA Champions League group stage opener against Dinamo Zagreb.
Thomas Tuchel’s side travelled out to Croatia this morning ahead of tomorrow night’s clash at the Maksimir Stadium – which will see the start of Chelsea’s bid to reclaim the European crown they won in May 2021.
Aubameyang arrived from Barcelona in the final hours of the summer transfer window with a jaw injury but was immediatley flown to Milan to have a mask constructed and fitted. Zakaria, meanwhile, is availbible to make his debut after being granted a work permit
The majority of Tuchel’s squad has made the trip but there is no N’Golo Kante due to the hamstring injury he sustained last month against Tottenham and Thiago Silva also misses out.
The Blues will be looking to build upon their 2-1 win over West Ham United at the weekend as they prepare to face Premier League title contender Liverpool in just weeks time. In the Champions League, Chelsea also have a few tough fixtures to come with AC Milan emerging as a headline bout.
Chelsea have been drawn against the Rossoneri, Red Bull Salzburg and GNK Dinamo Zagreb in Group E. The draw has already uncovered a number of exciting storylines and potential narratives.
Subject to availability, former Blues Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud will be making a return to Stamford Bridge. The latter of whom played a crucial role in the west Londoners lifting the trophy the season before last.
And, while the group may be seen as an easy draw to some, Milan won the Serie A last season and have started the new campaign well – they’re clearly a side to be reckoned with. Salzburg reached the knockouts of the Champions League for the first time last term and almost shocked Bayern Munich in the Round of 16.
Dinamo Zagreb currently sit on top of the Hrvatska Nogometna Liga (HNL), otherwise known as the Croatian top-flight. While Zagreb are no turnovers Tuchel will be looking to hit the ground running and avenge Chelsea’s loss to Real Madrid quarter-final last term.
Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Bettinelli
Defenders: Trevoh Chalobah, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ben Chilwell, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana, Reece James
Midfielders: Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Mason Mount, Denis Zakaria, Carney Chukwuemeka
Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling, Armando Broja, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz