Chelsea haven’t experienced the best form in 2020, but it’s time to shove all their troubles aside with Champions League action returning to Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard’s men face a formidable task in German giants Bayern Munich, flying high after the winter break.
The Blues’ inactivity in January means they have no “special weapons” to use in the knockout tie, but their young core has shown a lot of heart & determination to punch above their weights this season.
They must pack their strongest punch to get anything out from a relentless attacking side like Bayern. With the first leg staged at Chelsea’s home yard, they must feed off their supporters’ energy and take a do-or-die approach to create a decisive lead & have an actual chance of progressing into the last eight.
Chelsea Predicted XI
Kepa, James, Zouma, Rudiger, Tomori, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Pulisic, Abraham
Lampard should finally have a fully fit squad to choose from. Christian Pulisic should be fit after the winter break, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also close to returning. Expect the former to start knowing his history with Bayern.
Bayern Munich Predicted XI
Neuer, Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Kimmich, Goretzka, Muller, Coutinho, Coman, Lewandowski
Bayern have a mini-defensive crisis going on right now, with defenders Niklas Sule & Lucas Hernandez both ruled out for a long time. I feel Philippe Coutinho will start here as he’s faced the Blues on quite a few occasions in England.
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich Match Preview
Chelsea have only won four out of their last 10 Premier League games & experienced a real plummet in form after the Christmas period. They’ve been defensively shaky, not as lethal going forward & unable to kill off games in convincing fashion.
That being said, their impressive cup form could be the shining light Lampard can use to galvanize his side. Not many expected the Blues to qualify AHEAD OF AJAX(!) in the group stages, but they did so, even if it meant finishing second behind VALENCIA!
Their form against the “top-sides” this season…is not so good. However, they did oust Ajax on both occasions which shows Lampard’s side possess enough firepower to burn European giants. He’ll just need to light up the flame for his side to take the game right to Bayern.
The German side are lethal going forward, but equally vulnerable defensively. The Blues will surely take an all-out-attack approach to put on a show for Stamford Bridge. Christian Pulisic’s played against Bayern whilst at Borussia Dortmund & has enough incentive to send them packing. He’ll need to use his trickery, pace and decisiveness to terrorize them.
Tammy Abraham also needs to be more clinical to prove himself capable on the biggest occasions. He must connect whatever chances are created, trouble their defenders with his movement & be a bully in attack. But of course, those behind will need to feed them well.
Matteo Kovacic is having a blast being a creative wizard in midfield. He must find those defence-splitting passes & distribute the ball well to create chances. Reece James possesses a wicked crossing ability & must prove that by slinging in inviting chances for his team-mates.
N’Golo Kante aims to be that three-lung engine he always is, running the show by literally running everywhere. Jorginho must maintain composure with his assuring presence, operating things from deep & also contributing better defensively to keep Bayern’s midfielders quiet.
But it’ll be a huge task for Chelsea’s backline. Robert Lewandowski’s an absolute goal-scoring machine. He’s netted 22(!) times in Bundesliga already in just 20 games! In the Champions League, he scored 10 in 5 group games!
To keep up with him, read his movement & deny him opportunities to score will take a gigantic task. Yet if they think the Bavarians are ineffective without him, they’re sorely mistaken. Serge Gnabry cooked up a storm last time he visited London, scoring 4 against Spurs.
His movement & clinical finishing ability can cut apart Lampard’s side if they’re not quiet. Thomas Muller’s also a conniving customer with his goal-scoring tendencies and can create quite a few too. Coutinho, regardless of his deteriorated nature, can still produce unpredictable stuff.
It’s safe to say Rudiger-Zouma-Tomori trio will have their hands full. They must work as an unpenetrable unit, while Cesar Azpilicueta must aid them with his experienced nature. That being said, their work could all go to waste if Kepa Arizzabalaga doesn’t improve his form.
The Spaniard’s been too error-prone this time around, creating some hilarious mistakes. He’ll need to be at his very best, making reflex saves & most importantly NOT COMMITTING ERRORS. If they can frustrate Bayern, Chelsea’s attack has enough bite to stretch Bayern’s wobbly defence & get some important goals at Stamford Bridge.
It’s absolutely crucial for Chelsea to win this leg to head into the second leg at Munich with something to play for. I think this will be an end-to-end game with the Blues winning it 2-1, keeping the return-fixture open-ended.