Chelsea vs Bayern Munich: Champions League preview & prediction
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard knows a thing or two about getting one over Bayern Munich. The Englishman captained Chelsea on that historic night in 2012 when the Roberto Di Matteo led Blues defeated die roten on penalties in the Champions League final.
Tonight, Chelsea’s greatest midfielder will be on the sidelines of Stamford Bridge as he’ll be plotting to outlast the Bavarian club once again.
Chelsea have seen a mix of fortunes in their last five games across all competitions. The West London side has won two, drawn two and lost one. This past weekend, Lampard’s men emerged victorious against London rivals Tottenham.
The win was much needed for the Blues, especially after a disheartening loss to Manchester United where two of their goals were overturned by VAR.
Bayern Munich, on the other hand, are undefeated in their last five games across all competitions. The Bavarian side has won four and drawn five. The blip in the superb run was the goalless draw with RB Leipzig. In fact, that is Bayern’s only draw in the last 11 games. The Allianz Arena outfit has won 10 of its last 11 games.
Hans-Dieter Flick’s did eke out a win over SC Paderborn this past weekend. Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry were on target as Bayern Munich got the three points in a five-goal thriller.
Chelsea will be missing the services of midfield dynamo N’Golo Kante as the Frenchman is out with an adductor injury.
Lampard’s men, however, will be buoyed by the return of Tammy Abraham. The English striker featured in the win over Tottenham but expect him to make an appearance from the bench tonight. Christian Pulisic and Pedro, however, still remain doubtful.
Bayern Munich will be without Ivan Perisic and Niklas Sule – both out with long-term injuries. With Lucas Hernandez back to full fitness, expect him to start in defense in place of Jerome Boateng
Andreas Christensen vs Robert Lewandowski
Chelsea’s biggest issues this season have been on the defensive end.
Coming up against Robert Lewandowski then, is a nightmarish scenario for the Blues.
The Polish striker has been on a roll this season, scoring 38 goals in 33 games across all competitions. In the Champions League, the Pole is averaging a ridiculous two goals per game.
Christensen is a competent defender but lack of game time this season will make him a weak link, especially against Lewandowski. The Dane will have to man-mark the hell out of Lewandowski in hopes of neutralizing him.
Mateo Kovacic vs Thomas Muller
German star Thomas Muller is past his prime but still offers a lot of attacking impetus. His offensive and spatial awareness are his biggest strengths which create problems for opposing defenders.
Lampard is likely to use Mateo Kovacic to make things tough for Muller. The Croatian has grown into the role of a holding midfielder.
In Kante’s absence, the former Internazionale man has stepped up his performances and is proving to be a competent force in the middle of the park. His efforts to contain Muller’s attacking threat will be key to Chelsea getting a positive result tonight.
Willian vs Alphonso Davies
Brazilian winger Willian has been of Chelsea’s best big-game players in recent years. His quick-feet and creative instincts, compounded by experience, make him an important figure for Lampard in games of great magnitude.
Still, the Brazilian’s Champions League performances this season have been underwhelming. He only has one goal and one assist to boast of in the group stages.
Alphonso Davies has been one of the shining lights for Bayern this season. The Canadian has become a force to reckon with on the left side of defense with his energetic displays winning over the Bayern faithful.
Will Willian’s experience be too much for the young Davies? Or will the latter’s industry overwhelm the aging Brazilian?
Despite Chelsea playing at home turf, Bayern Munich head into this game as favorites.
Hansi Flick has turned around the German champions’ fortunes this season, after a tough start under Niko Kovac. The caretaker boss has been at the helm of Bayern’s title charge and the momentum the Bavarians have is too much to ignore.
Uncharacteristically, Stamford Bridge has not been a fortress for Lampard and co. this season. The Blues have lost five times at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this season and seven times in all competitions. It’s a far cry from the time when getting a win as an away side at the Bridge was an impossible task.
Both teams have major issues at the defensive end. Chelsea lack quality and Bayern Munich have an injury-ridden defensive unit. So, both sides should find the net in this game. The visitors, however, will be taking home the win and important away goals.
Predicted scoreline: Chelsea 1-3 Bayern Munich