Antonio Rudiger’s battle with Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez was one of the main storylines of Chelsea’s 1-0 victory in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie a fortnight ago.
Chelsea’s German centre half had a great battle with the firebrand Uruguayan forward all game and came out on top as Madrid barely threatened Edouard Mendy’s goal and the Blues took a slender 1-0 lead thanks to the other storyline from the game – Olivier Giroud’s overhead kick.
An incident in the second half where Suarez appears to pinch the thigh of Rudiger did the rounds on social media and saw Rudiger square up to Suarez, who is not exactly known as the shy and retiring type of footballer.
Blues fans loved it as the former Liverpool frontman was told to take a hike and the Blues secured a clean sheet, something they have done ten times since Tuchel took charge.
Rudiger has played in all but one of the games Tuchel has been in charge of, when he was rested for the Premier League win over Everton. The only other time he hasn’t played 90 minutes for his countryman was the half-time introduction of the FA Cup victory over Barnsley.
Suarez returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night for the second leg of the tie and Rudiger was asked in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday whether he was wary of any revenge from the frontman.
“At the end of the day this is not something that gives me a boost or something like this,” the 28-year-old said.
“He defends his badge, I defend mine. This is all, this is all. I go with no feeling any pressure for his revenge or anything like this.
“I am just focussed on our targets and that is to win the game and get through, because Atletico is not only Luis Suarez.
“Honestly, he’s a world-class player. He’s shown it at every club he has been in Europe, Liverpool, Barcelona, Ajax, now Atletico. He’s a very, very good player and he has a lot of fight in him and obviously he’s a top opponent.
“He just defends his badge by trying to fight for his team.”
And what about the pinch in Bucharest?
“To be honest, I just saw he pinched me when I saw the pictures on social media. In the game itself, I did not really feel it.
“It was emotions just like that, for me, nothing special.”