The Champions League is back with the competition’s group stage commencing tomorrow and Chelsea in action. Ahead of the games, we run through once again the three other sides the Blues will play in the Group E fixtures…
Each of the group rivals drawn with Chelsea two weeks ago is a new opponent in competitive fixtures, and while Sevilla’s winning credentials have been evident over the past decade with their Europa League titles, Krasnodar and Rennes are emerging powers.
Top-seeded Sevilla are coached by former Spain national team boss Julen Lopetegui and have a few names well-known to English audiences, and currently lie 10th in the table with fewer games under their belt than many of those above.
The Andalusians have supported their two-front challenge with summer investments in goalkeeper Bono, left-back Marcos Acuna, schemer Ivan Rakitic, wingers Suso and Oussama Idrissi, and inside-forward Oscar Rodriguez.
Rennes of course are new Chelsea goalie Edouard Mendy’s former club. They have acted boldly to reinforce in his area and others with the signing of ’keeper Alfred Gomis, centre-backs Daniele Rugani and Nayef Aguerd, teenage prodigy Jeremy Doku, fellow winger Martin Terrier and centre-forward Serhou Guirassy.
In his first full season, Julien Stephan coached the Bretons to their first trophy in 48 years, the 2019 Coupe de France, and secured this maiden bow among Europe’s elite this season.Krasnodar announced their arrival on the European stage under youthful coach Murad Musaev barely a decade after their foundation in 2008. They beat Sevilla at home in the 2018/19 Europa League, then a year later knocked Porto out of the Champions League qualifiers, before losing to Olympiacos.
In September they saw off PAOK to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time. The few acquisitions made before the transfer window closed were defensive, and after 11 of the 30 Premier Liga fixtures they lie seventh of the 16 clubs.