Domestic football is dragging itself back into frame after watching its international brother take centre stage for two weeks.
Chelsea, more than most, have been keeping a close eye on all the proceedings across the globe.
A splash of Blue has been thrown across the continent, with players from at least nine different countries flying Thomas Tuchel’s flag in the past fortnight.
There’s been goals, victories, losses, surprises, milestones, firsts and plenty more.
Here is a rundown of the positive and negatives to come out of the international interruption for Chelsea:
Werner on the score sheet
Isn’t that a sweet sentence for sore eyes?
Timo Werner scoring is not a sentiment that’s been spoken frequently enough in the past 12 months.
Before jetting off to join his compatriots, the German had only netted three times for club and country since March.
He equalled that tally in as many games for Hansi Flick’s side, bagging consecutively against Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland.
Hopefully this is just the confidence booster he needs to become the free firing forward buried deep within him.
Loanees living up the billing
It wasn’t just Tuchel’s current squad that were on show for their national teams.
Billy Gilmour and Armando Broja brought pride to the loan army, thanks to impressive performances for Scotland and Armenia respectively.
Gilmour was the Tartan Army’s midfield artist.
A starter for all three of Scotland’s World Cup Qualifying matches, the 20-year-old topped the statistics charts in terms of passes and touches, amongst other accolades.
Broja meanwhile showed the Chelsea faithful they have their striker for the future.
His later winner at home to Hungary helped Armenia take a huge step towards World Cup qualification.
This was followed up by another goal and two assists in a 5-0 thumping of San Marino.
Andreas Christensen once again showed his credentials, with three excellent displays in a Denmark shirt.
The Danish defender was present for all of his team’s clean sheets, earning his 50th cap in the process.
That new contract is surely only around the corner…
Captaining your country is a momentous occasion and one that often indicates the pinnacle of one’s career.
For Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho, earning the armband only furthers their status as modern-day greats.
Both were named skippers of their respective nations for the first time, with Jorginho becoming the first non-native Italian to lead out his colleagues since 1960.
Romelu on a roll
Speaking of standout moments, Romelu Lukaku had his own reasons for celebrating a personal landmark.
Belgium’s 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic signalled the centre-forward’s 100th international appearance.
Lukaku, of course, marked it with a goal.
Although Thiago Silva didn’t actually leave Chelsea over the interlude, he is feeling the international force more than most.
The Blues prevented Silva from joining him with his Brazilian pals, in fear of covid and isolation protocols.
Unfortunately, the decision has come back to bite them, as the defender is now facing a six-day ban thanks to recent FIFA sanctions.
He will miss the weekend’s game with Aston Villa and the Champions League home tie against Zenit.
With Silva absent and Reece James suspended, Tuchel is already two men light at the back heading into the Villa tie.
His other three main centre-backs, Azpilicueta, Christensen and Rudiger, featured in all three of their country’s fixtures.
Rudiger and Azpilicueta played as early as yesterday, meaning the turnaround for Saturday’s domestic outing is pretty swift.
Does Tuchel test the fitness of his defenders, who will only have had a few days on the Cobham pitches?
Beyond the mentioned trio, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Malang Sarr and potentially Marcos Alonso could slot in at centre-half.
Domestic manager’s biggest fear is seeing their players injured on national service.
For Tuchel, he has a handful of casualties to cope with.
Christian Pulisic picked up an ankle problem for the USA, whilst Lukaku admitted he was going for a scan on a thigh issue.
N’Golo Kante is also attempting to overcome damage to his ankle.
Kai Havertz had the flu but recovered in time for Germany’s last match.