Chelsea has posted a hint as to who might be starting their Champions League last-16 first-leg match away at Borussia Dortmund. The game is the first outside of domestic action for Graham Potter’s side since they beat Dinamo Zagreb in November.
Since then it has been a struggle in the league for the Blues, falling to 10th and exiting both domestic cups at the first hurdle. Questions are being asked of Potter and the glorious setting and opportunity that an away trip to Dortmund offers could be the perfect chance at partial redemption.
The game also comes in good time as several previously injured players make their way back into contention. Denis Zakaria and Mateo Kovacic have been missing in recent weeks whilst October was the last time that Wesley Fofana played in competitive action. All three of them will be available for Potter to choose from on Wednesday.
Ben Chilwell is also back after making substitute appearances against West Ham and Fulham, Reece James started both games and looks set to start once more. The club has since sent a subtle hint to fans that the left-back may well be in line to play from the start at Signal Iduna Park too.
In a special pre-match graphic Chilwell is included among the depicted players. James, Joao Felix, and Enzo Fernandez are also on there with that trio expected to play too.
Although social media posts are far from confirmation of the plans laid out by Potter, the Chilwell appearance is a tease considering many fans are eagerly awaiting his return. Marc Cucurella has been given the nod in recent weeks but he has struggled to pick up his form whilst 18-year-old Lewis Hall is yet to make his European debut.
It would be a big call to bring the youngster in from the start and Chilwell’s previous in the competition – part of the victorious 2021 squad, scoring in the quarter-final against Porto – makes him an experienced head for a big game. With over half the players in the 23-man squad younger than Chilwell he will have a role to play that is bigger than just on-field quality.
If he is fit enough to offer this from the outset then it will be a major boost for the visitors.