Champions League: Troubled ring changes at Chelsea for Lille’s return match

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta is one of five players recalled to Chelsea’s line-up for the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Lille in France on Wednesday as the struggling defending champions aim to clinch a place in quarterfinal.

Thiago Silva, Marcos Alonso, Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic also enter Thomas Tuchel’s line-up after being on the bench for Sunday’s 1-0 win over Newcastle United in the Premier League.

Romelu Lukaku starts in the substitutes again, just like in the first leg last month, which Chelsea won 2-0 thanks to goals from Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.

Burak Yilmaz and Jonathan David start together in attack for Lille as the French champions try to overturn their first-leg deficit and reach the last eight of the Champions League for the first time.

However, they are without playmaker Renato Sanches through injury.

Chelsea are hoping to defend their title despite the turmoil after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale on March 2 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The British government imposed sanctions on Abramovich last week, describing him as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Chelsea’s assets have been frozen but they are allowed to operate under a special licence, with the government taking over the potential sale.

On Wednesday, Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family, said they are leading a consortium that will make an offer to buy the club, according to reports.

Starting line-ups (kick-off 8:00 p.m. GMT; first leg 0-2):

Lille (4-4-2)

Leo Jardim; Zeki Celik, José Fonte (captain), Sven Botman, Tiago Djalo; Jonathan Bamba, Benjamin André, Xeka, Gabriel Gudmundsson; Burak Yilmaz, Jonathan David

Coach: Jocelyn Gourvennec (FRA)

Chelsea (3-5-2)

Edward Mendy; Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger; Cesar Azpilicueta (captain), N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso; Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic

Coach: Thomas Tuchel (GER)

Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)

AFP