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Champions League recap: Chelsea build solid foundation

An unbeaten group stage augurs well for a side still bedding in big signings plus a new manager.

Watch all Chelsea's group stage goals
Watch all Chelsea's group stage goals

Thomas Tuchel's new team have not been at their best in the Premier League, but there was little to fault about their autumn UEFA Champions League campaign.

UEFA.tv: group stage review

Campaign so far

Highlights (2 mins): Chelsea 3-0 Rennes
Highlights (2 mins): Chelsea 3-0 Rennes

Group E winners: W4 D2 L0 F14 A2
Top scorer: Olivier Giroud (5)

20/10: Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla
: Krasnodar 0-4 Chelsea (Hudson-Odoi 37, Werner 76pen, Ziyech 79, Pulišić 90)
04/11: Chelsea 3-0 Rennes (Werner 10pen 41pen, Abraham 50)
24/11: Rennes 1-2 Chelsea (Hudson-Odoi 22, Giroud 90+1)
02/12: Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea (Giroud 8 54 74 83pen)
08/12: Chelsea 1-1 Krasnodar (Jorginho 28pen)

Their campaign in ten words: Impressive progress and growing maturity thanks to solid defensive platform.

UEFA.com reporter’s view

Chelsea’s group success was founded on a solid back line – no one went longer than their 355 minutes from the start of the tournament without conceding – and, by and large, they took their chances. This should be a more balanced side than last season, with quality and depth in every position; and with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech still settling, there is surely more to come.
Jon Phipps, Chelsea reporter

What we’ve learned

Highlights: Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea (2 mins)
Highlights: Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea (2 mins)

After a big recruitment drive last summer, there was always the risk that this most unpredictable of seasons would be a shaky one for Chelsea. Premier League results have been up and down, culminating in boss Frank Lampard's dismissal, but the west Londoners have seemed more steady in Europe.

Chelsea certainly possess exciting young players – new keeper Édouard Mendy, in particular, has caught the eye – while 34-year-old Olivier Giroud continues to hold his own among them.

Squad changes

In: none
Out: Fikayo Tomori

Key stats

• Chelsea are one of four teams who got through the group stage unbeaten, along with Bayern, Lazio and Manchester City. Those six matches without defeat (W4 D2) put them on their longest unbeaten run in the UEFA Champions League since a nine-game streak (W5 D4) ended in September 2015.

• Giroud's four goals at Sevilla handed the hosts their heaviest European home defeat; they also made the Frenchman (at 34 years and 63 days) the oldest hat-trick scorer in UEFA Champions League history, and the oldest in the European Cup since 38-year-old Ferenc Puskás fired three past Feyenoord for Real Madrid in September 1965.

Classic Chelsea v Atlético goals
Classic Chelsea v Atlético goals

• The victory in Seville was only Chelsea's second success in their last 12 fixtures against Spanish opposition; they now face Atlético Madrid in the round of 16.

Who’s in charge?

Club great Lampard's season and a half at the managerial helm ended on 25 January, prompting the appointment of Thomas Tuchel, himself fresh from the hot seat at Paris. Will a more experienced coach produce better from an expensively assembled squad?