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UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, second leg: Bayern Munich vs Chelsea – Preview, Team News and Line-ups

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Bayern Munich vs Chelsea
Chelsea have a long list of injuries heading into this crucial fixture. (Picture Source: Twitter)

After 5 months of no action, Champions League football is finally back! While some clubs are absolutely raring to go, the others haven’t really played in a while. The setting sure isn’t mainstream but hey, nothing has been mainstream about this year so, let’s just be thankful for the showcase of talents on display, although there’s very little to expect from this clash between the Bavarian giants Bayern Munich and 2012 champions Chelsea.

Bayern Munich have only hosted Chelsea once previously for a competitive match. They won 3-2 in April 2005 in the Champions League. Current Chelsea manager Frank Lampard opened the scoring for the Blues that day. Chelsea and Bayern Munich last faced in the Allianz Arena in the 2012 Champions League final, with the Blues victorious on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

In the entire history of the European Cup and Champions League, no team has ever won by three or more goals in the first leg of a knockout match away from home and failed to progress. Such a team has gone through, on all of the 92 previous occasions. Chelsea are winless in their last seven away Champions League matches in the knockout stages (D4 L3) since a 1-0 win at Benfica in March 2012 in the quarter-final.

Also read: Barca vs Napoli – Preview, Team News and Line-ups

Chelsea face a more than daunting task, trailing 3-0 at Munich as the German side have looked close to being unstoppable this season. Wait, Where have we heard that before?

Chelsea fans themselves, are aware that “That night in Munich” isn’t about to turn into “Those nights in Munich”. Hansi Flick’s side has been the best-looking team in Europe and are considered absolute favorites to claim the ultimate prize this season. While Chelsea on the other hand, has been a sort of mixed bag after the restart, just as they were before it. In addition to the FA Cup, they have lost their skipper Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Pedro; all through injury. This fixture is probably the easiest to predict, that too for all the right reasons.

Robert Lewandowksi has been firing on all fronts this season, as he looks to better his own records at this point. Thomas Muller is coming off the back of yet another Bundesliga season having broken Kevin De Bruyne’s assists record in the German top flight. Thiago Alcantara, Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Serge Gnabry and David Alaba are all having fine seasons as well. The only downside to this fantastic side is the fact that they haven’t played professional football in over a month now and that could prove slightly rusty.

Chelsea on the other hand, have been going through somewhat of a transitional season under club legend Frank Lampard. Going forward, they have looked exciting at times playing fast, high pressing football. It is at the back where the problems lie for the blues, having their worst defensive campaign this century and that’s saying something for a side that used to take pride in their defensive acumen.

When the two sides had met back in February, the scores were tied at 0-0 at halftime. This was mostly because Bayern maintained their defensive shape and used it to mitigate some of tame efforts by Chelsea’s young attackers. It was almost as if the Bavarians waltzed their way into scoring the opener at Stamford Bridge. It was simply too easy for them to unlock this Chelsea defense, with Davies tearing it up on the left flank and supplying Lewandowski. Serge Gnabry came out with some clever movement on the other flank and scored against another London club, in the same UCL campaign.

With three away goals to add against how many ever goals that Chelsea’s defense is going to concede without skipper Azpilicueta, nothing short of a miracle would be enough to send Chelsea into the Last 8. The fixture seems as straightforward as it does, but it’s never a dull affair when Chelsea takes on Bayern Munich. Expect the Germans to be preparing for their one-legged quarter-final clash next week, though.

Team News

Bayern Munich

Benjamin Pavard is most likely set to miss out owing to an ankle injury, although Hansi Flick has played down the severity of the same and says Pavard may miss out only on the Chelsea game. This could prompt Kimmich to play at RB against the Blues. Kingsley Coman is a doubt for the clash.

Unavailable players: Benjamin Pavard

Possible Lineup:  Manuel Neuer(c), Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Alphonso Davies, Leon Goretzka, Thiago Alcantara, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Ivan Perisic, Robert Lewandowski.

Chelsea

Chelsea have a long list of key first-team names missing out on this clash, which further adds to the theory that they will struggle at the Allianz Arena.

Unavailable players: Cesar Azpilicueta (Hamstring), Billy Gilmour(Knee), Jorginho (Suspended), Pulisic (Hamstring), Marcus Alonso (Suspended), Ngolo Kante (Hamstring), Pedro(Shoulder), Willian (Match Fitness) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Knock).

Possible Lineup: Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger(c), Reece James, Ross Barkley, Matteo Kovacic, Emerson, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount.

Stat Corner

  • Chelsea are winless in their last 7 away games in Champions League.
  • Hansi Flick could become only the third manager in Champions League history to win his first five games in charge.
  • Lewandowski leads the goal-scoring charts in this competition, having scored a whopping 11 times.
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