Thomas Tuchel rates Chelsea’s chances of retaining the Champions League before Zenit clash

Tuchel outlines why Chelsea signed Saul on loan

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has claimed that his side will need a slice of luck if they are to repeat last season’s feat of winning the Champions League. The Blues kick off their European campaign by hosting Zenit on Tuesday night, a potential banana skin tie given their strong domestic form in Russia.

The Blues are still riding high on May’s Champions League triumph which was earned via a narrow victory over Manchester City.

They entered the match as underdogs, so it was a fine and dramatic way to crown the end of Tuchel’s first season in charge of the club.

Chelsea carry strong momentum going into the Zenit clash, having built on their unbeaten Premier League start with a handsome 3-0 victory over Aston Villa this weekend.

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Zenit are also unbeaten, however, so the pair’s first ever competitive encounter should be an intriguing one.

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“Believe it or not, I think there are so many teams who can win it,” said Tuchel during Monday’s press conference.

“You need luck, momentum and a good group. This competition is a very open competition.

“We have a strong bond. We were maybe a bit of a surprise to win it last year but it was not undeserved.

“We start from scratch with zero points and zero goals, everybody has the same chances.”

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Indeed, Chelsea’s group could be worse, but they will face stiff competition from Juventus to establish themselves as the big-hitters.

Zenit and Malmo make up the quartet who will fight it out for the two spots needed to qualify for the knockout rounds.

Although Tuchel deemed last season’s success a ‘surprise’, the Blues have strengthened during the summer transfer window, entering this season’s Champions League with Romelu Lukaku and Saul Niguez at their disposal.

The Belgian frontman has begun his second spell at Stamford Bridge in scintillating form, netting a stylish double against Villa to take his tally to three goals in three games.

Bayern Munich and PSG are likely to pose the sternest tests from abroad, with the latter determined to cap off their years of domestic dominance with a European victory.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are both strapped for cash, so it could well be the English sides who stand the best chance of going all the way, unless Lionel Messi’s move to Paris makes the difference.

Manchester City will seek to avenge last season’s fall at the final hurdle, Liverpool have been there and done it many times before, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact at Old Trafford could prove to be stratospheric.

Chelsea therefore have a mammoth battle on their hands, but getting off to a winning start against Zenit could give them extra belief that lightning can strike twice.

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