Troubled Chelsea look to progress to the Europa League last 16 when they welcome Malmo in the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening.
Despite securing a 2-1 advantage in the first leg round of 32 in Sweden, the 2013 winners were knocked out of the FA Cup fifth round by Manchester United on Monday, in the latest of several setbacks in Maurizio Sarri's nightmare debut campaign in London.
Meanwhile, their opponents bounced back from that narrow defeat with a 3-2 victory in the Swedish Cup in what was just their second game since mid-December.
With the Blues faltering domestically, their chances of Champions League qualification could rest on their Europa League progression, as they look to reach a first European final in six years.
Here's 90min's breakdown of Thursday's clash.
Where To Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Thursday 21 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is It Played?||Stamford Bridge|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
With the Carabao Cup final taking place three days after this clash, Sarri may rest several players for Malmo's visit, with star duo Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain expected to be excluded from the squad.
That leaves the door open for the likes of out-of-favour wingers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian, who have seen limited playing time, to make their mark. The former last started a competitive game in Chelsea's 5-0 win over Huddersfield at the start of February.
Malmo manager Uwe Rosler has a near fully fit squad to choose from, including the recall of first leg scorer Anders Christiansen, who came off the bench in their Cup victory.
|Chelsea||Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kovacic; Jorginho, Barkley; Hudson-Odoi, Willian, Giroud.|
|Malmo||Dahlin; Vindheim, Nielson, Bengtsson, Safari, Rieks; Christiansen, Bachirou, Traustason; Antonsson, Rosenberg.|
Chelsea's first leg victory was the first ever competitive fixture between the two sides, as their opponents search for a first success over English opposition in nearly 25 years. Their only triumph came against Nottingham Forest in a 2-1 victory in 1995.
Despite the Blues questionable form in domestic competitions, European outings have proved far from troublesome this term.
Sarri's side are yet to taste defeat in seven fixtures, winning six of these, as they seek a return to success in an otherwise woeful campaign. Top scorer Olivier Giroud could prove vital to their progression having netted five goals in Europe, including the opener last Thursday.
This competition also saw Hudson-Odoi score his first professional goal for the club against PAOK in November as he looks to prove his credentials amid ongoing transfer speculation with Bayern Munich.
Malmo have only ever reached the European Cup final once, now known as the Champions League, as runners up in 1978/79. Marcus Antonsson is the club's top scorer in the competition this term with five goals.
Here's how each side has faired in their last five fixtures.
|Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United (18/02)||Malmo 3-2 Degerfors (17/02)|
|Malmo 1-2 Chelsea (14/02)||Malmo 1-2 Chelsea (14/02)|
|Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (10/02)||Besiktas 0-1 Malmo (13/12)|
|Chelsea 5-0 Huddersfield (02/02)||Malmo 2-2 Genk (29/11)|
|Bournemouth 4-0 Chelsea (30/01)||Lunds 0-2 Malmo (22/11)|
With their top four hopes dangling by a thread, the Europa League could prove a welcomed distraction for Chelsea's hopes of securing a Champions League spot next term.
In spite of Giroud's less potent scoring rate in the Premier League, the Frenchman has proved integral to their unbeaten run in Europe as he seeks a second goal against the Swedish outfit.
Having conceded two away goals, Malmo's task of adding to their opponents' woes look unlikely on this occasion.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Malmo