Kovacic believes in little difference between the Blues and Bayern
 (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea’s enormous eight days comes full circle as they welcome Bayern Munich to Stamford Bridge in a colossal Champions League round of 16 tie. 

After defeating Tottenham Hotspurs and losing to Manchester United in the Premier League, Frank Lampard and co. now face another level of quality in the form of the Bundesliga leaders, but many in Blue are savouring the chance to face one of the continents power house. 

Mateo Kovacic in particular is prepared for a stern test in the first leg, but with his pedigree in the competition, combined with his impressive performances this season, he has every faith Chelsea can cause an upset. 

Blues can better Bayern 

In the Croat, Chelsea have a serial Champions League victor, having lifted the trophy on three occasions with his former employers, Real Madrid

Kovacic also has previous with Bayern, coming off the bench in both legs as the Spanish side knocked out the Germans in the 2017 quarter finals. 

Therefore, he knows more about the opposition than most, using this to inject confidence into his team mates. 

Chelsea's midfield maestro told the Chelsea website, "We have a good team, they do as well, but there is not much difference between us and Bayern.

"Bayern has a whole squad with great players, so it will be difficult tomorrow but that’s normal at this stage in the Champions League."

Opponents do not come much mightier than Bayern, top of their respective division, running riot in the group stages with 6/6 wins and a competition high of 24 goals. 

This being said, Chelsea are fresh from their London derby win, another angle from which Kovacic is taking optimism into Tuesday evening. 

"The Champions League is beautiful to play and we can show ourselves again, like we did against Tottenham. It will be tough but we are prepared. Every one of us likes these big games, so I hope we will enjoy the game."

Battle at the Bridge

Many in Europe would welcome a fixture on home soil, yet Chelsea sit in the minority who have performed better away this campaign than they have at the Bridge. 

Prior to seeing off Spurs, the Blues had lost seven home games in the league, their most in a single campaign since 1994-95, accompanied by just three defeats on the road. 

Kovacic is aware of the ropy form in front of their own fans, fully expecting Bayern to utilise this in their favour.

The 25-year-old said: "At Stamford Bridge we had some tough moments this season. Teams come here, stay back and it’s difficult to go through them, but Bayern won’t do that.

"They will play as we will. It will be an open game which we will enjoy."

An open game would be great for the neutral, fully expected to be the case as both teams prioritise attacking over defence; Chelsea's last five fixtures have accumulated 16 goals, Bayern's 21. 

Kovacic is cruising 

On a personal level, Kovacic has arguably been Chelsea's player of the campaign, ramping up his game after a mediocre first year in England under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri. 

A graceful, intelligent figure in the middle of the park, there are few better mentors than the man in the dugout and when asked if he could become better than Lampard, he said: "‘I don’t know! I think I’m playing a good season under him, but I think I can do even more.

"I have good communication with him, I am working on my bad sides I have in my game, I am talking to him a lot and analysing my game."

Kovacic has become a crucial cog in Lampard's machine, leading the way in the league for successful dribbles (65) and close second behind Jorginho for accurate short passes. This, combined with the inconsistencies with those around him, has earned him a regular spot on the team sheet. 

He himself appreciated his develop, admitting, "I think I’m becoming a better player, but this is normal because I am getting more mature, I am in a good age, and I feel good."

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