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Steaua Bucharest - Match Preview


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The Match

Chelsea head into the final Champions League group game on Wednesday against Steaua Bucharest – kicking off at 7.45pm UK time – looking for the 3 points that will see them win the group. Jose Mourinho’s men have already qualified for the Last 16 and are in pole position in the group with 9 points and holding a 1 and 2-point advantage of Basel and Schalke respectively.

A win against bottom side Steaua – already eliminated from Europe altogether – tomorrow will clinch the group though gaining a point would be enough if the game in Gelsenkirchen between Schalke and Basel ends in a draw. However, a defeat against the Romanian side will definitely see Chelsea finish second and either one of Basel or Schalke take top spot regardless of the result in Germany.

Chelsea will be desperate to finish in first place and win the group in order to avoid facing the other European giants in Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and even Paris St. Germain so early in the Last 16 of the competition. Should 2012 European Champions finish second in their group, it could also pit them against giants like Juventus and Borussia Dortmund but the potential opponents from the runner-ups are arguably less daunting in comparison to the group winners.

On the other hand, the Blues will also want to bounce back from a shock defeat to Stoke on Saturday and have come under fire for shipping six goals in their last two games – four from set pieces – as well as the inconsistent performances. After going through a perfect October winning all 6 games, the last month and a half have been stop-start - LWDWLWWL - for Mourinho’s side having won just 4 of 8 matches and losing 3 of them.

With a hectic Christmas period schedule coming up including key Premier League clashes against the current Top 2 in Arsenal and Liverpool, the Blues will need to build momentum and confidence if they are to continue staying on the right track of achieving their targets come end of the season.

About The Opposition

Steaua Bucharest come into this game with problems of their own; looking out of sorts having won just 1 and drawn 6 of their last 7 matches in all competitions including 4 successive stalemates in the league that see them currently sit in 3rd trailing six points behind leaders FC Astra.

However, Steaua will be under no pressure whatsoever in comparison to their illustrious host in the context of the Champions League as they no longer have any chance of continuing their European adventure this season.

It remains to be seen what side Laurențiu Reghecampf will field come tomorrow to focus on domestic matters given their recent struggles in the Romanian league but regardless of their starting XI, the Blues have enough quality and squad depth to dispose their counterparts though they cannot afford to underestimate Steaua as they picked up draws against Basel – twice – and Schalke in the last 3 matchdays.

Past Meetings (P3 W2 L1 F7 A2 CS1)

1st October 2013: Champions League – Steaua Bucharest 0-4 Chelsea

14th March 2013: Europa League – Chelsea 3-1 Steaua Bucharest

7th March 2013: Europa League – Steaua Bucharest 1-0 Chelsea

Team News


With five games to be played in the next two weeks, Jose Mourinho confirms he will be fielding a different starting XI to the one played on Saturday and seem to have suggested at least 3 players will be rested. The Portuguese did confirm Ashley Cole will start tomorrow in his press conference today, meaning Cesar Azpilicueta – who has been playing at left back – is likely to be rested and while the manager did not speak of others, reports elsewhere claimed David Luiz and Oscar have returned to training following recovery from their respective injury problems and could feature tomorrow.

It also remains to be seen if Andre Schurrle is fit to play in this game after picking up a calf injury against Stoke and the much neglected Kevin De Bruyne should play a part as Mourinho said recently chances will be given to the Belgian to claim a spot in the team and this could be the game to do so. The squad for tomorrow can be seen below:

Goalkeepers: Petr Cech and Mark Schwarzer

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand

Midfielders: John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Willian and Kevin De Bruyne

Strikers: Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba, Fernando Torres

Steaua Bucharest

Reghecampf could well rotate his squad and conserve the energy for league matters as that is the priority for them now, having already been eliminated from Europe, though majority of Steaua’s players have featured in the Champions League this season. Alexandru Bourceanu will be absent for Steaua as he is serving a one-game suspension after picking up three yellow cards in the competition while Lucian Filip is out with a broken leg suffered in training last month. The squad for tomorrow can be seen below:

Goalkeepers: Ciprian Tatarusanu and Florin Nita

Defenders: Lukasz Szukala, Florin Gardos, Iasmin Latovlevici, Daniel Georgievski and Fernando Varela

Midfielders: Mihai Pintilii, Alexandru Chipcie, Cristian Tanase, Andrei Prepelita, Adrian Cristea, Paul Pirvulescu, Nicolae Stancie, Ionut Neagu, Adrian Popa and Gabrial Iancu

Strikers: Leandro Tatu, Federico Piovaccari and Pantelis Kapetanos

Stats and Facts

1. Chelsea have a 100% record at Stamford Bridge against Romanian oppositions (CFR Cluj, Steaua Bucharest) - P2 W2.

2. Chelsea's next draw will be their 50th in UEFA competition (via UEFA).

3. Chelsea have only kept 9 clean sheets in 23 games in all competitions this season and only 2 in the last 8 matches - 3-0 wins over Schalke and West Ham in November.

4. In contrast, Steaua Bucharest have kept 11 clean sheets in 28 games in all competitions but only 1 of them have come in the Champions League - 0-0 draw against Schalke on Matchday 5.

5. Steaua Bucharest have not won for 22 games in the UEFA Champions League proper, since a 4-1 success at FC Dynamo Kyiv on 13 September 2006 (via UEFA).

6. Steaua's failure to beat Schalke on matchday five equalled the longest UEFA Champions League run without a win, set by FC Spartak Moskva between 5 December 2000 and 22 November 2006 (via UEFA).

7. Steaua Bucharest have never won in England in European competitions - P8 D2 L6.

8. Chelsea were 29 home group stage games unbeaten prior to their 2-1 loss to FC Basel 1893 on Matchday one (via UEFA).

9. Steaua Bucharest are currently the joint second lowest goalscoring team in the Champions League along with Celtic. Only Real Sociedad and Austria Wien have scored less (1).

Match Odds (Final Result/Full Time)

Chelsea WIN - 1/5

DRAW - 5/1

Steaua WIN - 14/1

*Odds obtained from SkyBet*


Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels:

United Kingdom: Sky Sports 3/HD, Sky Go UK

United States: FOX Soccer 2Go, FOX Soccer Plus

Middle East: Al Jazeera Sports

Belgium: Belgacom 11+

Brazil: ESPN Play Latin America, ESPN+

India: TEN Sports India, TEN Sports LIVE

For additional regions, you can check out the TV schedule for the match here.

There should be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game or if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.

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