Bayern Munich vs Chelsea Preview: Blues look to claw back deficit

The Champions League has conjured up some truly magical and remarkable moments down the years, particularly when comebacks are concerned. Instanbul; Liverpool battling back against Barcelona; Tottenham Hotspurs overturning Ajax; Manchester United's finale revival of 1999; Barca pitting Paris St Germain at the death. 

Although this may not stand in such grand stature, if Chelsea were to overcome Bayern Munich in their round of 16-second leg tie, it deserves an honorable mention amongst the greatest overhauls in the competition. 

Bayern cruised to a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the reverse leg and ended the campaign as Bundesliga champions once again, whilst playing some frightfully good football in the meantime. Chelsea have typically hit hot and cold since the restart of the Premier League and although the result seems a forgone conclusion, Frank Lampard will not want to limp through whatever remains of his first spell in the Blues dugout. 

Form

Chelsea travel to Germany fresh from their FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal last Saturday that left a blotch on the conclusion of the domestic campaign. 

Although a trophy in his maiden stint as manager would have been a fine achievement, Lampard had been focused on obtaining European football, which was ultimately achieved on the final day thanks to a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

Prior to this, they had won just twice in six league outings, tasting disappointing defeats to West Ham and Sheffield United and only just scraping past Crystal Palace and Norwich City. Chelsea have managed to overcome both Manchester clubs upon the revival of football in England, beating City to crown Liverpool champions and United to reach the FA Cup final. 

Whilst Chelsea has been stop-start, Bayern has been simply full throttle. 17 straight victories propelled them to a league and cup double, destroying all those that stood before them. They were in a title scrap with Borussia Dortmund until Hansi Flick took over in November and turned the tide in Bayern's favor. 

Having finished 13 points above Dortmund, Flick added to his fantastic overhaul by beating Bayer Leverkusen in DFB-Pokal final to secure an 11th German double in the past 21 seasons. In this period, they have netted six against Hoffenheim, five against Eintracht Frankfurt and Dusseldorf and four against Wolfsburg and Leverkusen twice.  

Head to head

Despite meeting competitively on five occasions, every encounter between the Blues and Bayern has been a classic. 

Back in 2005, the pair played out a staggering set of fixtures in the quarters that saw Chelsea progress 6-5 on aggregate. Six days after winning 4-2 at the Bridge thanks to goals from Didier Drogba, a double from Lampard himself and an own goal, the Blues were back at Bayerns stomping ground with one foot in the semis. 

Despite being defeated on the night, Jose Mourinho's men edged through with that deadly duo of Drogba and Lampard again providing the goods. 

However, nothing could quite compare to the drama that ensued seven years down the line, as Chelsea infamously beat Bayern in their own backyard in the Champions League final. Roberto Di Mateo patched together a squad that deployed Ryan Bertrand at left-wing and David Luiz in midfield in an attempt to destruct the Germans dominance.  

In a frenzied final ten minutes, Thomas Muller put the hosts ahead before Drogba's terrific header took the game to extra time. This all came before Petr Cech denied Arjen Robben from the penalty spot to go alongside the numerous saves the Czech made to keep his side in the game. 

Cech and Drogba would eventually be the Blues heroes, the latter scoring the winning spot-kick after Cech had palmed away Bastian Schweinstigers effort from 12-yards, sending the Chelsea contingent into euphoria. 

Bayern would partly revenge this loss in the UEFA Super Cup a year later, a match once again decided via a shoot out. Chelsea were the current Europa League holders, whilst Bayern were reigning Champions League victors having defeated Dortmund in an all German finale. 

Rewind to present day, and Chelsea were humbled at home in a second half that saw goals from Robert Lewandoski and Serge Gnabry settle proceedings and gave little hope for the boys in Blue when they come to Munich. Marcos Alonso's red card induced further misery on what was  Chelsea's heaviest ever home European defeat. 

Team news

Chelsea


Much like that fabled night in Munich, Lampard will have to field a fragile-looking 11 due to an array of suspensions and injuries. 

Both Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta were forced to be replaced against Arsenal with damages to their hamstrings. Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek did not even make the bench against the Gunners, the latter taking a knock in training whilst the Brazilian was not present during the league win over Wolves. 

N'Golo Kante's repeated injury concerns leave him in doubt of a starting role after being an unused substitute at Wembley

Pedro was forced off during the fixture with an expected dislocated shoulder, his last in a Chelsea jersey before moving to Roma.

Jorginho and Alonso are suspended, therefore Lampard has a small pool from which to work and is therefore likely to hand starts to Ross Barkley, Emerson, and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Bayern Munich 



Benjamin Pavad is the only major absence for Flick's selection, the Frenchman undergoing treatment on damage to his metatarsal. 

Bayern will be expected to flush their strongest XI, considering they have not competed competitively since the beginning of June. A friendly win against Marseille last Friday was their first since clinching the German cup and Flick naturally started his strongest-choice players, the only exception with Joshua Kimmich at right-back instead of central midfield. 

Manager's Quotes

Frank Lampard

Addressing the clash, Lampard said: "I believe we can, otherwise I shouldn’t be here. We have to believe, more importantly the players have to believe as they take on this game.

"It’s a huge task, no doubt. It’s going to be extremely tough, but games have turned to big degrees, some famous games, great games, so we have to believe we have the opportunity to do something special.

"We have to go into the game with that thought, give everything to the game, play with confidence, and that’s what I expect to see from the players. Not an attitude of this being a difficult match in a negative sense, it has to be a positive sense."

Hans-Dieter Flick

Hans-Dieter Flick said: "I can say Lampard has been doing an extraordinary job with Chelsea. They've managed to qualify for next season's Champions League through the Premier League and they've been pretty successful after the restart.I like the way they play and how they've performed.

"If I would be in the position of the Chelsea manager or Chelsea fan, I would say we have nothing to lose, we will try to give all we have and we'll see," Flick said.

"We have respect for our opponents. We know Chelsea have a great and also big squad with lots of players who have fantastic potential.

"I know from my time with the DFB [German Football Federation] how football is played in England.

"If we look at the development that has been showing for years now, it is unbelievable, it is fantastic, how they bring up new, young players and focus on the youth.

"Chelsea have a great team filled with a lot of young players with great potential and we will be ready to face them tomorrow."

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