It looked like Chelsea had been dealt a rough hand when they drew Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.
The Blues were without a win in three at the time of the draw and were suffering a dip in form that would eventually lead to Frank Lampard’s dismissal.
Meanwhile, Diego Simeone’s side had established a commanding position in La Liga, one they still hold but not as securely after failing to win three of their last four league games.
Combine this with Chelsea’s steady upturn under Thomas Tuchel and you get Tuesday’s night result, an Olivier Giroud (£3.7m) inspired victory in Bucharest.
The Frenchman scored an eye-catching bicycle kick to Chelsea a slender advantage heading into the second leg.
A win over La Liga’s leaders represents the Blues’ best result yet under Tuchel and another favourable reflection on the new-look defence.
Granted, Atleti aren’t one of Europe’s free-flowing attacking forces but repelling Luis Suarez and co looked beyond Lampard’s interpretation of the side a few weeks back.
Dream Team managers desperately need to get to grips with Tuchel’s favoured line-up because points aplenty are going begging.
When things were rosy under Lampard, most of the top gaffers had at least two of Reece James (£4.4m), Ben Chilwell (£3.5m) and Kurt Zouma (£3.2m) in their backline.
The former has been regularly used a substitute but the latter pair have been starved of action since the change in management.
Cesar Azpilicueta (£3.9m), Marcos Alonso (£2.7m) and Antonio Rudiger (£3.8m) have come back into the equation in Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 formation.
Andreas Christensen (£1.9m) is currently deputising for Thiago Silva (£4.2m) but the Brazilian is likely to take his place in the centre of defence when fit.
DREAM TEAM POINTS SINCE TUCHEL’S APPOINTMENT:
- Azpilicueta – 51
- Alonso – 46
- Rudiger – 38
- James – 36
- Zouma – 8
- Chilwell – 4
Chilwell remains the third-most popular defender at the time of writing!