The fifth-ever meeting between Chelsea and Bayern Munich is a UEFA Champions League round of 16 meeting that looks lopsided in Bayern’s favour.
The Bavarians are five-time UCL winners and are top of the Bundesliga, having discovered imperious form since Hans-Dieter Flick assumed the reins after Bayern sacked Niko Kovac last November.
There are various personal duels that will have a direct impact on who wins the game. Below are the five duels you should watch out for:
Andreas Christensen v Robert Lewandowski
If the masked defender plays, he will be up against one of the wiliest and most-physically endowed striker in world football in Lewandowski.
The Pole is supremely talented – whether it is finding space in the box to poach or getting on the end of crosses. He also can play on the shoulder which means that Christensen’s day will be totally occupied, with his concentration expected at over 100 per cent. Anything less will mean calamity for the Blues.
Mason Mount v Thiago Alcantara
Thiago is the modern orchestrator, pulling the strings with intelligent passes and subtle movements between the lines.
Mount’s job, apart from driving his team forward, will turn into the Spaniard’s shadow for the night. Mount, nippy in his ball pressing, will hope to rob Thiago of the ball high up the pitch and help Chelsea move swiftly into the attack.
As much as he is good going forward, he must also be conscious of his defensive task.
Tammy Abraham v Jerome Boateng
Abraham has had an injury but returned to action against Tottenham and his speed and ability to run in behind makes him the perfect forward for Lampard’s tactics.
He should have some joy if the Germans deploy Boateng in central defence. He will also have the unenviable task of closing down the World Cup winner, who is adept from passing well out of defence.
Reece James v Serge Gnabry
The last time Gnabry came to London, he scored four times in a dominating performance. He is back to form after injury, scoring in successive Bundesliga matches.
He is fast, deceptive, with an agile gait that helps him get away from defenders. James is strong, quick, but naïve and can sometimes lose concentration and bearing. Lampard will also expect the Chelsea youngster to get close to the Bayern box, to deliver accurate crosses.
Marcos Alonso v Kingsley Coman
If Chelsea play the 3-4-3 formation, Lampard will task Alonso with patrolling the left flank. But as much as his effectiveness further forward, the Spaniard has to keep a keen eye on Coman, who on his good day needs defensive players to double up on him to stop him.
This means the distance between Rudiger and Alonso should be at a minimum to keep Coma’s danger at bay.
“This is a two-legged game. Concentration and focus must be absolutely top in both games. I like us to take risks in attacking areas but in terms of our defensive mindset we have to be really on it.” – Frank Lampard, Chelsea Manager
“Apart from against Leipzig [in the Bundesliga], we have scored in every game. We have been impressive in that regard. I’m looking forward to it. I have looked forward to this stadium. I’ve been here several times and with Frankfurt last season. It’s a special game.” – Hansi Flick, Bayern Manager
Current Form: Chelsea [W-L-D-W-D]; Bayern Munich [W-W-D-W-W]
Head to head
Tue 25/07/17 ICC Chelsea 2 – 3 Bayern
Fri 30/08/13 USC Bayern 2 – 2 Chelsea
Sat 19/05/12 UCL Bayern 1 – 1 Chelsea
Mon 11/04/05 UCL Bayern 3 – 2 Chelsea
Tue 05/04/05 UCL Chelsea 4 – 2 Bayern
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Bayern Munich
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