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Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea, Champions League: Time, TV schedule, live stream, preview

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This will not be easy.

Atletido de Madrid Press Conference Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Chelsea and Atlético Madrid meet for the first time since the 2013-14 Champions League semifinal second leg, in which Simeone’s counter-attacking experts stunned Stamford Bridge and José Mourinho to the tune of 3-1. It was one of the final games Diego Costa, who scored a penalty that day, played for Atleti before transferring to Chelsea the following summer. Tonight’s encounter will be the first match Atleti will play since officially re-signing their prodigal son — though Costa will only be in the stands due to Atleti being unable to register him to play until January.

Costa is just one part of the a wider shared (player)-history between the two clubs in recent years. The 3-1 win was also one of the final games Thibaut Courtois played for Atletico while on loan from Chelsea. Courtois has been entrenched at Chelsea ever since while Atleti have moved on to their next goalkeeping prodigy with Jan Oblak continuing the sequence started by David de Gea.

Chelsea’s lone goal in the 3-1 was scored by Fernando Torres, in one of the final games he played for Chelsea before leaving on loan to AC Milan and then on a permanent transfer back to his boyhood club. Unsaddled from the burden on his £50m transfer fee, the now 33-year-old Torres has, at times, even struck a useful figure at Atléti.

In the meantime, Filipe Luis did the round-trip between Madrid and London as well, collecting a double with the Blues (Premier League and League Cup titles) before returning to Simeone’s bosom having failed to displace César Azpilicueta as Chelsea’s starting left back.

Azpilicueta, now Chelsea vice-captain is one of five players who could start today just as in that 3-1. The others are Gary Cahill (now the Captain), David Luiz (who played defensive midfield then), Eden Hazard, and Willian.

But enough about history.

Date / Time: Wednesday, September 27, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)

Venue: Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain — the stadium (or at least its predecessor) was commonly known as La Peineta (‘The Comb’) due to its comb-shaped main stand, which has more or less been retained as a design feature.

Referee: Cüneyt Çakır — Continuing the theme of familiar names from the intro, here’s the referee we should all remember from that famous 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp. Çakır has refereed five other Chelsea games, too, with the Blues winning twice, including the 2-0 over FC Porto back in the 2015 group stage.

Forecast: Seasonably hot during the day and warm at night still.

On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); FOX Sports regional networks & affiliates, ESPN Deportes (USA); Sony Six (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: BT Sport Live (UK); FOX Soccer Match Pass, ESPN3 (select regions) (USA); Sony LIV (India)

Atlético Madrid team news: After a summer that ruined a few well laid plans when their transfer ban was upheld by CAS, Atlético have simply gotten down to business and have yet to lose a game this season (including pre-season). They are currently second in La Liga, and have won three matches on the bounce. In addition, as mentioned in our Q&A with Into the Calderón, they simply don’t lose at home in the Champions League, having done so just twice since 2008 (32 games, 2 losses). Simply scoring a goal may be a massive achievement for Chelsea, with Atléti conceding a grand total of six (6!) goals in the 23 home games of the Simeone era.

Simeone’s 4-4-2/4-3-3 hybrid is working just about as well as it ever has, with their only potential weakness being some wastefulness in front of goal — thus the massive amounts just spent on Diego Costa. Jan Oblak is the new DeGeaCourtois; Lucas Hernández is a homegrown gem; Filipe Luís is still kicking at 32, as is Gabi at 34. Koke and Griezmann and Carrasco need little introduction, while a pair of 22-year-olds, Saúl Ñíguez and Ángel Correa, just might make theirs with aplomb.

Chelsea team news: Everyone except Danny Drinkwater is fit and available. This will be Chelsea’s toughest match of the season so far, but complicating Conte’s team selection will be the arguably more important home game against Manchester City coming up on Saturday. We expect a 3-5-2, but that’s hardly a confident prediction.

After one round of games, Chelsea are top of the group, thanks to the 6-0 win over Qara-punching-bag while Atléti only managed a 0-0 in Rome. A positive result for Chelsea would keep us in control; anything else throws the group back wide open — Roma play in Azerbaijan in the day’s early kick-off (17:00 BST).

Projected lineup (3-5-2):
Courtois | Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta | Alonso, Kanté, Fàbregas, Bakayoko, Zappacosta | Hazard, Morata

Previously: This will be the sixth match between the two sides, with Chelsea only winning once, way back in 2009, drawing twice (both away), and losing twice (once at home as mentioned at the top, and once in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup, which was a very bad day). Let’s get hyped!