Why are Chelsea playing in Bucharest? Atletico Madrid Champions League venue explained

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Ben Burrows
·2 min read
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<p>Liverpool face RB Leipzig in Budapest</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool face RB Leipzig in Budapest

(AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea face Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League.

The Blues have travelled to Bucharest in Romania, not Madrid in Spain, to meet the La Liga leaders in the first knockout round of this year’s competition.

Manager Thomas Tuchel reached the final with former club Paris Saint-Germain back in August but insists the tournament does not represent a personal goal.

“No, no. My priority is very simple. My priority is always the game we play and has never been different and will hopefully never change.

“This is exactly what I expect from all my players and all my teams that when we wear the Chelsea shirt, we play the Chelsea game and we instantly play to win and to give 100 per cent of effort and intensity.

“It is very nice and amazing and exciting to play Champions League games. The knock-out stage you know that you arrive at the highest level.

“When you play Atletico in the first round of the knock-out then you know you must be at your highest level and this is what we want to have. We feel confident and excited and at the same time focused.”

Why is Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea in Buchareest?

The tie has had to be switched to a neutral venue after the Spanish government placed restrictions on arrivals from countries affected by new coronavirus variants.

The game will now be played at the Arena Naţională in Bucharest rather than the Wanda Metropolitano in the Spanish capital.

A statement said: "Uefa is able to officially confirm that the Uefa Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Club Atlético de Madrid and Chelsea FC will now be played at the Arena NaÅ£ională in Bucharest.

"The date of the match (23 February 2021) and the kick-off time (21:00CET) will remain the same.

"Uefa would like to express its gratitude to Club Atlético de Madrid and Chelsea FC for their support and close cooperation, as well as the Romanian Football Federation for their assistance and agreeing to stage the match."

Where is the second leg?

The second leg is slated to take place at Stamford Bridge on 17 March.

However, given the changeable nature of government policy both in the UK and in Spain that could be changed between now and the fixture.

Have any other games been moved?

Yes. Liverpool’s first leg with RB Leipzig was played in Budapest last week while the first-leg of Manchester City’s tie with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday will also take place in Hungary.

Both legs of Arsenal’s tie with Benfica in the Europa League have been switched to neutral venues.