Two-time former champions Chennaiyin FC will look to go out all guns blazing and start the new season on a winning note when they take on ATK Mohun Bagan in their opening match of the Indian Super League here on Monday.
The Marina Machans come into the ISL following a good run in the Durand Cup, finishing as a quarterfinalist.
With a complete overhaul of their foreign contingent and a reinforced Indian contingent, the team will look to improve on their Durand Cup campaign and carry forward the momentum into the new season.
"I like offensive football; I like to score goals. And that is what we want to implement in the game. You must be very prepared and attentive to understand and capitalise on the mistakes of your opponent. You have to use it to your advantage," Head coach Thomas Brdaric said in a release.
This year’s ISL also marks the return of the fans to the stadiums with the league returning to its traditional home and away format after two seasons inside a bio-secure bubble.
German midfielder Julius Duker said, "We have a very nice mix of youth and experienced players and this will be very interesting this season. We have worked really hard and now want to go out and show the fans that we are good enough to play against these teams."
Brdaric's men spent most of their pre-season in Kolkata, exploiting the conditions. Although this will help the team adapt quickly, the head coach is aware of the challenges clubs like ATK Mohun Bagan can pose at their home.
Besides Duker, Marina Machans' foreign line-up consists of defenders Vafa Hakhamaneshi and Fallou Diagne, midfielder Nasser El Khayati, and Sliskovic and Kwame Karikari upfront in the attack.
The team is all geared up and will look to secure its first ISL win against last season's semi-finalists ATK Mohun Bagan. The Mariners have won two of their four meetings with Chennaiyin with two games ending in draws.