Chelsea will open its Champions League campaign against Dinamo Zagreb from Croatia in what will be a return for midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who spent his formative years at the Croat club.
The Blues were knocked out by eventual Champion Real Madrid last season and will hope to start with a win from Game 1 itself.
“[They have] a lot of individual quality,” manager Thomas Tuchel told the press before the match. “Up front and on the wings they have speed and dribbling. They will use the role as an underdog to over-perform and make us under-perform. This will be their plan. We are aware of that.”
Dinamo will be without defender Bosko Sutalo, who has a calf and ankle injury and has undergone surgery. Defender Emir Dilaver has a fever and winger Luka Menalo is out with a thigh injury.
Borussia Dortmund vs FC Copenhagen
Last season, Borussia Dortmund was knocked out in the group stages after a double by Ajax and a 3-1 loss in Lisbon against Sporting CP, which saw miss out on the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2017/18.
That is something the German side will look to rectify this time.
“We know that we’re under real pressure [to deliver against Copenhagen] given that we’ve got two difficult away games in Manchester City and Seville to come. If we want to get through the group stage, this is a must-win match,” said Sebastian Kehl, the sporting director of the club.
Copenhagen, on the other hand, will be boosted by the return of its captain Zeca, who is back after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.
“I’m ready to play the full 90 minutes, and hopefully I can do that more often now we’re into the season,” he said on the eve of the match, “There’s still a process I need to go through, and we’re aware of that. I just hope I can play more games consecutively from now on.”