Chelsea return to the Champions League on Tuesday after a one-season absence and could not have wished for an easier opponent.

Qarabag of Azerbaijan make their debut in the group stage, at the fourth attempt, after beating FC Copenhagen in the play-off round.

Antonio Conte has spoken at length for the need for increased numbers in his squad due to the extra commitments and will feel comfortable rotating his starting XI against the comparative minnows.

A shock defeat to Burnley a month ago has been followed by impressive wins over Tottenham, Everton and, most recently, Leicester City. Another should follow in midweek.

Scroll down for Standard Sport’s comprehensive preview…

Start time

Chelsea host Qarabag at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, September 12, with kick-off scheduled for 19.45 BST.

TV and live online coverage

The game will be televised live in the UK on BT Sport//ESPN, with coverage starting at 7pm. Alternatively, you can follow live updates with Standard Sport’s blog.

Live Updates




Welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of the Champions League group stage fixture between Chelsea and Qarabag.

Join us from 6.30pm on Tuesday as the Blues return to Europe’s top table!

Can’t see the blog? Click here for the desktop version.

Team news

Antonio Conte will likely rotate his squad for the visit of the European minnows.

Eden Hazard played his first domestic minutes of the season when coming on as a substitute against Leicester and is expected to feature at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Conte says he will not take any “stupid risks” and the Chelsea boss is expected to ease Hazard back in. The Belgium international will likely start on the bench, while Danny Drinkwater will again be made to wait for his Chelsea debut after sustaining a calf injury in training. 

Elsewhere, new signings Davide Zappacosta and Willy Caballero could feature, while Willian will be looking for a return to the starting XI after dropping out at the weekend.

Qarabag will likely line up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with former Birmingham City midfielder Michel in midfield and Dino Ndlovu leading the line.

Starting line-ups

Predicted Chelsea XI: Caballero; Rudiger, Cahill, Christiansen; Zappacosta, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Bakayoko

Predicted Qarabag XI: Sehic; Medvedev, Rzezniczak, Huseynov, Agolli; Qarayev; Guerrier, Michel, Almeida, Madatov; Ndlovu

Head to head

Chelsea and Qarabag have never played each other in a competitive game.


Bettings odds (via betfair)

  • Chelsea to win: 2/15
  • Draw: 9/1
  • Qarabag to win: 28/1

Click here to place a bet. Odds correct as of September 12 at 10am.