Tuesday’s Champions League action gets underway at the Red Bull Arena as RB Salzburg and Chelsea meet in a top-table Group E six-pointer.
Salzburg spurned an early lead in an underwhelming 1-1 draw at Dinamo Zagreb in the previous round but still preserved their unbeaten Champions League run this season (W1, D3).
Despite drawing three of their four opening Group E matches, Matthias Jaissle’s men come into proceedings second in the standings, only one point adrift of Chelsea.
However, they must avoid losing here to take the qualification fight to the final day and keep third-placed AC Milan at bay, with only two points separating them ahead of the kick-off.
Chelsea witnessed Salzburg’s fighting spirit first-hand on Graham Potter’s touchline debut as the perennial Austrian champions battled back from a goal down to hold them to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on matchday two.
Plenty has changed in west London since the former Brighton & Hove Albion manager replaced Thomas Tuchel in the dugout, especially when it comes to the Blues’ showings in Europe.
Following a two-game winless Champions League start (D1, L1), Potter’s side thumped Milan in back-to-back Group E outings via an aggregate score of 5-0 to seize control of the top spot.
Yet Chelsea’s lead at the summit is still fragile. There’s no margin for error in Austria if the Premier League heavyweights are to maintain the initiative in this group ahead of the final round.
Salzburg have gone into overdrive since a 2-1 defeat at Sturm Graz in late July, stringing together 17 straight matches in all competitions without losing (W11, D6).
But low scoring has been a common theme in Salzburg’s recent home fixtures, as each of their last five outings at the Red Bull Arena have featured under 2.5 goals, with four ending as a draw (W1).
That still bodes well for the Austrians’ bid to defy their 100% winless ratio against Premier League adversaries in major European competitions (D2, L5) and boost their hopes of reaching the Champions League knock-out stages for the second season running.
Chelsea thought they had a massive Premier League victory over Manchester United in the bag before Casemiro’s 94th-minute equaliser turned their 1-0 lead into a draw on Saturday.
Aware that they can qualify for the Champions League round of 16 with a game to spare should they win here, the Blues must shrug frustration off and try winning three straight matches in the competition by multi-goal margins for the first time since 2013.
However, it’s worth noting that Chelsea have been winless on both of their previous European road trips to take on Austrian rivals (D1, L1), never scoring more than once per game.
RB Salzburg vs Chelsea Potential Line-ups
RB Salzburg (4-3-1-2): Philipp Kohn; Amar Dedic, Oumar Solet, Strahinja Pavlovic, Andreas Ulmer; Maurits Kjaergaard, Lucas Gourna-Douath, Nicolas Seiwald; Luka Sucic; Noah Okafor, Benjamin Sesko.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell; Conor Gallagher, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek; Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling.
How to Watch?
Salzburg vs Chelsea, alongside all other matches in Europe’s most prestigious club competition this season, is available to watch online via Champions League live streams.
And if you are interested in attending a future UCL game, see our Champions League tickets page for more information.
RB Salzburg vs Chelsea Prediction
Crippled by numerous injuries to their key players, Salzburg may take a cautious approach, knowing another draw could prove crucial in their bid to advance to the knock-out phase.
But we expect Chelsea to take advantage of their hosts’ substantial injury list to notch all three points and make it to the round of 16 come Tuesday evening.
RB Salzburg 0-2 Chelsea
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