Chelsea vs Rapid Vienna Preview: The Conte Era begins in Austria

Antonio Conte takes charge of his first Chelsea game on Saturday in Austria.

Chelsea vs Rapid Vienna Preview: The Conte Era begins in Austria
Antonio Conte was officially unveiled as Chelsea manager on Thursday. (Source: chelseafc.com)

Chelsea kick off their pre-season tour on Saturday as they travel to Austria to face Rapid Vienna, who finished second in the Austrian Bundesliga.

The Blues begin a new era under Italian boss Antonio Conte, who was officially unveiled as the club's new manager on Thursday. Conte was said to be "very vocal" in his training sessions so far as he hopes to drill his philosophy into the Chelsea squad.

Team news

Chelsea: The Blues are still without some big name players as summer holidays continue. Stars such as Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Cesc Fabregas are among a handful of players who were involved in the latter stages of Euro 2016 and aren't due back for club football just yet. 

Conte does have the likes of John Terry, Oscar, Diego Costa and Asmir Begovic available for selection, as well as plenty of academy talent. The Italian will likely field a team of the experienced players and youth on the verge of breaking into the starting eleven. 

Projected XI: Begovic; Aina, Ivanovic, Terry, Baba Rahman; Matic, Loftus-Cheek; Kenedy, Diego Costa, Traore, Willian.

Rapid Vienna: The Austrian side finished second last season and will be aiming to kickstart the upcoming campaign with a shock win over the English giants on Saturday. New signings Joelinton and Maximilian Entrup may be set to feature for their new club.

Projected XI: Strebinger; Schösswendter, Dibon, Schrammel, Grahovac; Shwab, Schaub, Schobesberger; Joelinton, Jelic, Auer.

Michy Batshuayi will join the Blues this summer, but will he be joined by anyone else? | Image credit: Chelsea FC
Michy Batshuayi will join the Blues this summer, but will he be joined by anyone else? | Image credit: Chelsea FC

Background

Saturday's meeting will be just the second fixture between the two clubs in history, the first was a friendly in 1964 in which Chelsea won 2-1. 

Rapid Vienna's new stadium, the Allianz Stadium, officially opens on Saturday and their fixture against Chelsea marks the first game to be played in the new arena.

Saturday marks the first of two friendlies in Austria, with the second coming on July 20th against RZ Pellets.

What to Watch For

Antonio Conte will have his eyes fixed on what his squad can offer just a few days after the Italian took charge at Stamford Bridge. With just a handful of training sessions under their belts, the Blues begin an important pre-season on Saturday, with four games to follow this summer.

Chelsea are apart of history as they help kickoff a new era for Rapid Vienna in a new stadium. The two clubs sole purpose for the friendly will be match fitness and preparation but the celebration of a new stadium makes it a special occasion.