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Champions League group stage recap: Chelsea's quality comes through

Thomas Tuchel departed early in the campaign but Graham Potter steered the Blues' ship safely into the round of 16.

Watch all of Chelsea's Champions League Group Stage goals

One point from their first two games left Chelsea in danger of missing out on the knockout stages in a closely-fought Group E.

Graham Potter's men regrouped, though, with back-to-back victories against Milan pivotal in them taking their place in the round of 16.

Round of 16: Dortmund vs Chelsea

Campaign so far

Group E winners: W4 D1 L1 F10 A4
Top scorer
: Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2)

Highlights: Milan 0-2 Chelsea

06/09: Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Chelsea (Oršić 13)
14/09: Chelsea 1-1 Salzburg (Sterling 48; Okafor 75)
05/10: Chelsea 3-0 Milan (Fofana 24, Aubameyang 56, James 62)
: Milan 0-2 Chelsea (Jorginho 21pen, Aubameyang 34)
25/10: Salzburg 1-2 Chelsea (Adamu 49; Kovačić 23, Havertz 64)
02/11: Chelsea 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb (Sterling 18, Zakaria 30; Petković 7)

Campaign in ten words: Life after Tuchel looks promising with Potter's magic in dugout.

UEFA.com Chelsea reporter

The departure of their Champions League-winning coach after just one game in the group stage meant more upheaval for Chelsea, but Graham Potter has taken no time at all to put things right. After a game spent exploring the strengths of his new players in the 1-1 draw against Salzburg at home, Potter's team burst into life with back-to-back victories against AC Milan before securing top spot with a stylish performance in Austria on Matchday 5.

How do Chelsea play?

Potter has built on the foundations of Tuchel's Chelsea at their best, typically playing with a robust back three and the double No6 pairing in front. However, formations are famously a relative concept in the Englishman's vision of football, so Chelsea have now added fluidity and interchangeability of positions that is making them very hard to work out. The football is improving with every game, which makes them a dangerous prospect given the quality in the squad.

Fantasy star performers

Raheem Sterling – 31 points
Reece James – 31 points
Jorginho – 29 points

Squad changes

In: João Félix, Enzo Fernández, Mykhailo Mudryk
Out: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jorginho

Clubs had until 24:00 CET on Thursday 2 February to register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.

Key stats

  • Chelsea have now qualified for the knockout phase in 18 of their 19 appearances in the competition.
  • Thiago Silva became the 47th player to make 100 Champions League appearances, reaching the landmark in his team's Matchday 4 encounter with Milan.
  • Chelsea's 2-0 success at Milan was their first away win in the Champions League against an Italian club since a 4-0 victory at Lazio in November 2003.