Chelsea will head to Allianz Arena to face one of the strongest teams in Europe today, Bayern Munich. The German powerhouse have not lost since January when their last defeat came to Nurnberg losing 5-2. The last time these two teams clashed, Chelsea were hampered with injuries and had to lead the line with Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud. Lampard will have another headache as his side will enter this weekend with another depleted squad after losing their main man, Christian Pulisic, to a hamstring injury in the FA Cup final last weekend.
Tactical breakdown of 1st Leg:
Chelsea lined up in a 3-4-3 formation in the first half and switched to a back four in the second half. Lampard’s side used Olivier Giroud as a target man to open up space behind Bayern’s backline with Mason Mount and Ross Barkley sitting behind the French talisman. Mount and Barkley left Joshua Kimmich in 1v2 situations as Chelsea looked to overload the middle of the pitch. Hans-Dieter Flicks’ side countered this approach by pushing his fullbacks high up the pitch along with his wingers giving the Chelsea backline trouble. The pace of the fullbacks and the wingers were a strong catalyst in why Bayern was able to create many offensive chances throughout the match. Chelsea also had their moments in the game as Mason Mount and Barkley were able to find space behind the fullbacks, but the pace of Alphonso Davies and Parvard made it easy to track their runs.
Another key factor was Thomas Muller, who was able to exploit the space left behind Jorginho and Kovacic when they went to press up high. Muller thrived between the lines linking up the attack and finding pockets of space to use. Chelsea at the end of the day did not have the quality to deal with Bayern’s versatile firepower and showed that the blues have much work to do to reach their level.
Bayern Munich recent form:
The Bayern Reds have not lost since January and are on an imposing winning streak since football returned. This however has not stopped teams from going at them with Munich looking vulnerable defensively. Chelsea could look to hurt them once again out wide but will need to have pace and strong decisive making in the final third to do so. Thomas Muller is their top playmaker with 25 assists and 12 goals in all competitions. The renowned world class striker, Robert Lewandowski leads the line with a frightening 51 goals in all competitions along with 6 assists as well. The midfield pair of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich has been a revelation for Bayern as the transformed Goretzka has overtaken Thiago in the starting eleven putting impressive outings week in and week out.
-Key points for Chelsea
Mateo Kovacic will be a key player for this match as his dribbling ability and skill to break between the lines will be crucial for Chelsea’s build up play. Olivier Giroud could also help them create space behind the Bayern press and open up channels for our wingers. In their game against Bayern Leverkusen, who also played a back 3, Flick tried to use Muller as much as he could as the German international often drifted wide to help create quick 1-2s between teammates. Leverkusen’s narrow 5-4-1 formation made it hard to play against through the middle but Munich was able use their centre backs in Boateng and Alaba to deliver over the top balls to their front line creating chances behind Leverkusen’s’ compact midfield. Chelsea could use this same strategy and try to deny Bayern space in midfield, but will have to be wary of the pace of their wide players, as they could once again look to hurt us our flanks. Their off the ball runs could also cause havoc to our backline, similar to what Aubameyang did to us at the weekend with his dynamic pace. Serge Gnarby is another dangerous attacker that could run amok this saturday as his quality in the final third will surely test our shaky defense.
With the Premier League concluded, Chelsea hoped they would finish the season with a trophy this past weekend, but their lack of urgency on the ball and poor defending let them down. They could end the season on a better note by putting in a good performance against one of the best teams in the world in Bayern Munich. It’s almost an impossible task to ask Chelsea to comeback from a 3-0 aggregate score against the Bundesliga champions, but never say never as fans will hope to see their side give some heart and spirit. Frank Lampard has his hands full with an injury-ridden squad and inconsistent defense, but his managerial skills will be put up to the test once again as all the lights will be on him to see what he can do with the current Chelsea squad.
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UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg
Saturday 8th August
Bayern Munich vs Chelsea
Kicks off: 20:00 UK time
Edited by: Dan