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Chelsea face nervous wait over Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger’s fitness for Brentford clash

“Golo Kante is set to return for Chelsea’s game against Brentford on Saturday after recovering from Covid-19.

But Thomas Tuchel faces anxious expectation over the fitness of Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger after the international break. Both players suffered injuries while on duty for their country, which forced them to miss games.

Chelsea have agreed to him returning to their homeland, rather than reporting directly to their Cobham training base, as the extent of what has been described as overloading has been assessed by team medics national.

Belgian coach Roberto Martinez said: “There is obviously a great understanding between the two medical teams and we want to do our best for the player.

“Every decision is also made in agreement with the club.”

Rudiger was stricken with a back problem which forced him to miss training for Germany and ruled him out of their World Cup qualification against North Macedonia.

The potential absence of the center-back against Brentford will be of particular concern for Tuchel, who is already without Thiago Silva due to the Brazilian defender not returning from international duties in time to appear.

While Rudiger responded well to treatment from German doctors, he did not recover enough to play a role against North Macedonia.

Kante’s return from isolation is better news for the Chelsea manager after the French midfielder missed games against Juventus and Southampton ahead of the international break.