Preseason Friendly Preview: Werder Bremen vs Chelsea

Chelsea travel to Germany to face Werder Bremen in their next pre-season friendly. This will be their last game in Europe, and will be facing their toughest opponents yet. Having won all the friendlies except one, Chelsea are in fine form and are expected to win.

Apart from  impressive displays by some of the youngsters, the main boost for the Blues has been the form of Diego Costa. The 25 year old forward has been prolific, scoring one and assisting two in the last two matches. Jose Mourinho has been particularly impressed by the striker’s aggressive running, and strength, which was on full display during the last match, when he held off two defenders before laying the ball on a plate for Matic to score. Earlier, Costa had assisted for Mohamed Salah on four minutes, when he sped past two defenders and squared the ball to Salah who just had to pass the ball into an empty net. Also on the score-sheet in the last match was Cesc Fabregas, who curled home a beautiful free-kick. He has been partnering Nemanja Matic in central midfield quite effectively, but against Vitesse he was seen in the number 10 role, just behind Costa, where he was even better, giving Van Ginkel a better opportunity at starting.

Belgians Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have joined the squad and  started training. After having had time off after the world cup, both of them are fresh and fit, and Mourinho will be eager to provide them minutes on the pitch. Also expected to make his second debut for Chelsea, is Didier Drogba, who has been training and is available for selection. Filipe Luis, another new signing this season, has also been quite impressive, and is again expected to start. It will be interesting to see who gets the nod between the sticks, as the epic battle between Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois commences.

Mourinho, in his last interview had said that Fernando Torres is going nowhere and will be playing his fifth campaign for Chelsea, which will prompt him to fight for the starting berth with competition from Drogba and Costa. Andre Schurrle, Oscar, Willian and Ramires are yet to join the squad. Romelu Lukaku has left the club for Everton with an alleged fee of around 28 miilion pounds and young midfielder John Swift has been loaned to Rotterham United for the season, and hence is unavailable for selection. Werder Bremen are in good form, having won six and drawn two matches in their pre-season campaign. While Chelsea won their last match 3-1 against Vitesse Arnhem, Robin Dutt’s team drew 2-2 against Athletic Bilbao.

The 26-man travelling squad:

Goalkeepers: Petr Cech, Matej Delac, Mitchell Beeney, Mark Schwarzer.

Defenders: Filipe Luis, Branislav Ivanovic, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Nathan Ake, Cesar Azpilicueta.

Midfielders: Oriol Romeu, Nemanja Matic, Marco van Ginkel, Nathaniel Chalobah, Cesc Fabregas, Lewis Baker.

Forwards: Diego Costa, Fernando Torres, Jeremie Boga, Izzy Brown, Dom Solanke, Mohamed Salah, John Swift, Patrick Bamford. 

Expected Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Filipe Luis; Nemanja Matic, Marco Van Ginkel; Mohamed Salah, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard; Diego Costa.

Date / Time: Sunday, August 3, 2014, 16:00 BST; 11am EDT; 8:30pm IST

Venue: Weserstadion, Bremen, Germany

Online/On TV: Chelsea TV

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