Chelsea begin the knockout stages of this season’s UEFA Europa League when they travel to Sweden to face Malmo FF in the first leg of their round of 32 tie on Thursday evening.

The Blues eased through the group stage by collecting 16 points from an available 18 but the competition now steps up a notch as Chelsea enter the knockouts.

Chelsea’s latest European opponents finished second in their group behind Belgian club KRC Genk. The Swedes won two and drew three of their six group fixtures while they were the lowest scorers in their group.

Malmo are expected to be without experienced midfielder Guillermo Mollins for their clash with The Blues with the player currently struggling with a thigh injury while Swedish international Oscar Lewicki has a groin problem and is unlikely to feature.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has come under pressure following Sunday’s heavy 6-0 loss at Manchester City. The Italian could opt to make several changes to his starting XI. Full-back Marcos Alonso is not thought to have travelled to southern Sweden while the likes of N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain could be some of the other players considered for squad rotation. Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be unavailable for selection with the player currently struggling with a back injury.

The match is scheduled to kick-off at 8pm and will be screened live on BT Sport 2.