The German tactician decided to use the two strikers in a UEFA Champions League group stage game against Malmo on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Unfortunately for the coach, they both got injured before the end of the first half.
Lukaku who has never played half a game in the Champions League since he joined Chelsea last summer limped off the pitch which confirmed that the knock he received from Nielsen was a serious one.
Before he exited the Champions League game, Chelsea were already leading 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, thanks to Andreas Christensen’s 9th-minute strike and Jorginho’s spot-kick.
In the 44th minute of the game, coach Thomas Tuchel was forced to substitute Timo Werner with Callum Hudson-Odoi.
In the absence of the two strikers, Jorginho and Havertz scored to give Chelsea a comfortable 4-0 win over their visitors.
The 4-0 win has cemented Chelsea’s hold of the second spot in Group H with 6 points in 3 games, three points away from first placed Juventus.
After the game, Tuchel confirmed that Romelu twisted his ankle while and Werner sustained a hamstring injury. He also confirmed that the two strikers would miss some games but could not confirm how long they will stay out of football.
Recall that during the October international break, Lukaku ended his stay with the Belgium national team abruptly due to muscle fatigue. Afterward, coach Tuchel was quoted as saying that his national team overused the striker.
Yet, the German tactician ended up playing him against Brentford on October 16, and against Malmo, a team Chelsea were expected to beat with ease.
When he was questioned about his decision to use Lukaku against Malmo, Thomas Tuchel admitted that if he had known that the Belgian striker would be injured he would not have played him.
“If I knew before I wouldn’t have done it”, the coach said. “But you can’t know it before and it was necessary that he was on the pitch and he started very strong.
“I spoke with him about the situation, that I think he carries a bit of mental fatigue around with him. I think that is also normal but he is our number nine and is our reference upfront.
“It’s not a muscle injury or because of physical fatigue. He is a little bit overplayed, this is my opinion and maybe I’m not even right. But this was a moment to give him confidence and let him play. I don’t regret it, things like this can happen. It was bad luck.
“Romelu twisted his ankle with the foul in the box and Timo has a hamstring injury. It will take a while for both of them. We need more examinations to be more precise but they will be out for some matches.”
Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are expected to miss the Premier League game against Norwich City on Saturday. The game will kick off at 12:30 at Stamford Bridge.
Lucky enough for Chelsea, the London-based club would not play any strong opponent in their next five games in all competitions which means that the absence of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner might not be greatly missed.
Chelsea’s strongest opponent in their next six games is Leicester City. The Premier League game will come up on November 20. Both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are expected to be fully back before then.
Coach Tuchel said: “We take the games step by step, there is no more important game than the game we play on this day. Jorgi [Jorginho] didn’t play against Brentford, we went with Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) who was there during the international break.
“The guys on the pitch deserve to start, there are no gifts or resting players because the next game is more important. We pick the best line-up in our belief to have the best chance to beat Brentford and then we pick the best line-up on this day to beat whoever arrives in a Champions League match.”