NAfter a spectacular overhead kick dream hit from Olivier Giroud, coach Thomas Tuchel has the best chances of making it into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with Chelsea. In the first real endurance test for Tuchel as coach of the London football club, the Blues were victorious on Tuesday evening in Bucharest with 1-0 (0-0) against Atlético Madrid and thus remained undefeated in the eighth game under the former Mainz and Dortmund coach.
A draw on March 17th at Stamford Bridge would be enough for the Tuchel team to qualify for the top eight. The only goal in the first leg of the last 16 came from Frenchman Giroud in the 68th minute at the Bucharest National Stadium. The home game of the Spaniards had to be moved to the Romanian capital due to the Corona travel restrictions.
After just two minutes, the stormy Spaniards almost took the lead: After a blunder and almost foul by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Atlético captain Koke was no longer in the shooting position. Thomas Lemar narrowly missed his first real chance after a fine pass from Luis Suárez (14th). But Tuchel’s team with the DFB national players Antonio Rüdiger and Timo Werner in the starting eleven was then in the game after a quarter of an hour. In the largely balanced duel, which was confidently led by German referee Felix Brych, the Blues only rarely set goal-threatening accents.
And even after the break, there were hardly any high-profile opportunities. Most of the action took place between the penalty areas. Brych only gave Giroud’s goal after the video assistant had checked an alleged offside position.
Last year, Tuchel was even in the final of the premier class. However, he lost the final as coach of Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to Bayern Munich. Chelsea had moved into the knockout phase as group winners, Atlético survived the preliminary round only thanks to two wins against Salzburg. “I think we are at eye level”, Timo Werner had said before the duel in the “Kicker” interview.