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Chelsea's Baku odyssey: Facts & figures behind trip to Qarabag

Chelsea are getting used to life on the road this week with three consecutive away matches, but Stamford Bridge will surely feel like a world apart for Antonio Conte's men as they prepare to take on Qarabag in Baku, capital city of Azerbaijan.

The 2,469-mile journey from London is the longest trip Chelsea have ever made to play a competitive match in European competition, beating the previous holder -- an away fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the northern Israeli city of Haifa (2,183 miles) in November 2015 -- by almost 300 miles.

A direct flight from London to Baku takes six hours. Situated on the western bank of the Caspian Sea, the Azeri capital is further east than Moscow, the whole of Iraq and all but the eastern tip of continental Africa.

Cities outside Europe that are closer to London than Baku include Algeria's capital Algiers (1,033 miles), Libya's capital Tripoli (1,453 miles), Lebanon's capital Beirut (2,151 miles), Egypt's capital Cairo (2,185 miles) and Mosul in northern Iraq (2,353 miles).

Qarabag proved a difficult trip for Atletico Madrid, who could only draw there.

Nicknamed the "City of Winds" (due to its famously harsh gales rather than anything to do with its citizens), Baku won't at least pose any problems of playing at altitude for Chelsea; it is actually the lowest lying national capital in the world, located 28 metres below sea level.

The round trip from London to Baku is 4,938 miles -- far enough to get from London to Nairobi (4,244 miles) or Zanzibar (4,619 miles) in Africa, New Orleans (4,634 miles) or Houston (4,855 miles) in the United States and Mumbai (4,475 miles), Kathmandu (4,563 miles or much of north-western China in Asia.

Chelsea will leave Baku at around 10pm UK time at the earliest on Wednesday, meaning they will arrive back in London no earlier than 4am on Thursday morning. This, as Conte has already noted, is less than ideal preparation for taking on Liverpool at Anfield at 5:30pm on Saturday (61.5 hours later).

With all those miles in their legs and relatively little time to recover, Chelsea have even more reason to make sure they book their place in the Champions League knockout stage by beating Qarabag on Wednesday.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.


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