Red Bull Salzburg’s ability to compete with the European big guns while nurturing some of the finest young talents that Europe has to offer is admirable, but failure to convert draws into wins has been the downfall of the Austrian champions, who have lost their grip on the top spot.
Salzburg remains unbeaten in the group stage but they could not hang on to a one-goal lead against Dinamo Zagreb on matchday four, as Nicolas Seiwald‘s opener was cancelled out by Robert Ljubicic.
A run of three draws from the opening four rounds in UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group E has kept Salzburg in contention to qualify as group winners, but they must avoid defeat against Chelsea in order to take that fight to the final day.
Potter’s first game in charge of the 2021 Champions League holders ended in a 1-1 draw with Salzburg at Stamford Bridge, as Noah Okafor cancelled out Raheem Sterling‘s opener, and the hosts are battling both history and a hefty injury list in their bid to upset the Group E apple cart.
After taking the initiative in UCL Group E with back-to-back wins over AC Milan, Graham Potter’s Chelsea can qualify for the round of 16 with a game to spare, but only if they can win here. Such a result may be the expectation, not least because Chelsea has qualified from 17 of their last 18 UCL group-stage appearances.
Chelsea were left frustrated after a 94th-minute Manchester United goal consigned them to back-to-back draws over the weekend, yet it did extend Potter’s 100% unbeaten record since taking the job (W5, D3).
Being unbeaten in 28 of the last 34 European games may buoy the Chelsea faithful (W21, D7), yet all of their historical H2Hs with Austrian opponents ended level (D3) after drawing at home with Salzburg in the reverse matchup!