Chelsea's challenging schedule continues when the Blues take on Bayern Munich in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, 25 February 2020.
Chelsea return to Champions League action after an eventful week in the Premier League, where they had to face both Manchester United and London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. And if the first match against Manchester United was quite unfortunate and the Blues eventually lost 2-0, Frank Lampard's men have bounced back to beat Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Saturday.
Bayern Munich remain on top of the Bundesliga table, one point above RB Leipzig, but their last result wasn't that convincing. The Bavarians had to wait until the closing minutes of the match against last-placed Paderborn, when Robert Lewandowski scored his second goal of the game to seal the final 3-2 at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
This will be the first competitive encounter between these two sides since the 2013 UEFA Super Cup match in Prague, where Bayern Munich triumphed after a penalty shootout that was a little revenge for a disappointing defeat to Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League Final at their own stadium.
Chelsea Betting Preview
The Blues finished second in Group H of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League (level on points with group winners Valencia), collecting 11 points in their six matches (3W-2D-1L).
Frank Lampard made four changes from the side that lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United on Monday and they paid rich dividends as they all contributed to only their second victory in seven Premier League matches. Indeed, Chelsea were winless in four league games (2 draws and 2 defeats) prior to the 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, but their latest result kept them in fourth place, three points over Manchester United.
Olivier Giroud, who scored the opening goal against Spurs, fully deserved his place ahead of the struggling Michy Batshuayi, and the Frenchman has ended a goal drought lasting over several months as his last goal was in France's 2-1 win over Moldova in mid-November. He didn't had many chances to do it for Chelsea though.
World's Most Expensive Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has not featured since the 2-2 draw against Arsenal last month and it seems that veteran Willy Caballero will likely remain in goal for the upcoming Champions League clash.
N'Golo Kante suffered an adductor injury early in the 2-0 defeat against Manchester United and the French midfielder is likely to be sidelined for up to three weeks. This means that Mateo Kovacic should once again start alongside Jorginho in central midfield.
Willian and Tammy Abraham are expected to return to the starting lineup on Tuesday, as Abraham is set to make his first start since the 2-2 draw at Leicester City three weeks ago – Chelsea's top goalscorer has recovered after an injury and came off the bench to replace Olivier Giroud in the final quarter of the London derby against Spurs last weekend.
Frank Lampard could be tempted to stick with the 3-4-2-1 formation he used against Spurs on Saturday, with a centre-back trio of Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
Marcos Alonso, who impressed against Spurs, is competing with Emerson for the left-wingback spot, while Reece James should remain on the right side of Lampard's formation.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic are both doubts for Frank Lampard's selection and if the former is close to return, Pulisic has not featured since he suffered an adductor injury in the 1-1 draw with Brighton on New Year's Day.
Meanwhile, midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek returned to Chelsea's matchday squad for the first time since May, but we highly doubt that he will be an option (at least for a starter) in a game of such importance.
Bayern Munich Betting Preview
The Bavarians have won all of their group stage games (the only team to do so in this season's group stage), scoring an impressive 24 goals in the process, and 10 of them have come against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Champions of Germany already travelled to the English capital earlier this season when they achieved a remarkable 7-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur, but the upcoming clash against Chelsea would require a completely different approach since it's a knockout stage game.
Robert Lewandowski took his Bundesliga-leading tally to 25 goals (scored in 23 matches) and he's also the joint-leading goalscorer in the Champions League (alongside Erling Braut Haaland), scoring an impressive 10 goals in five group stage matches.
Jerome Boateng and Benjamin Pavard were both suspended and missed the match against Paderborn, but the pair should be back in contention for Tuesday's game.
With Pavard suspended over the weekend, winter signing Alvaro Odriozola made his first Bundesliga start since joining Bayern Munich on loan from Real Madrid, but the Frenchman (Pavard) will most likely return to the starting lineup here.
Another player who was a key member of France's World Cup-winning team in 2018 – Lucas Hernandez – returned to first-team action over the past few weeks and could start at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, centre-back Niklas Sule is making good progress but still has a long way to go to fully recover from a long-term injury, while Croatian winger Ivan Perisic suffered an ankle injury and will be sidelined for several months.
Possible Starting Lineups of Chelsea and Bayern Munich
Chelsea: Willy Caballero – Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta – Emerson, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Reece James – Mason Mount, Willian – Tammy Abraham. (3-4-2-1)
Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer – Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, David Alaba, Alphonso Davies – Joshua Kimmich, Thiago – Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman – Robert Lewandowski. (4-2-3-1)
Frank Lampard's men have been highly inconsistent throughout the campaign and they have already lost seven home matches in all competitions this term, their most in a single season since 1994-95 (also seven). In fact, Chelsea's 2-1 victory against Lille in their last home game in this season's group stage ended a five-game winless run (4 draws and 1 defeat) at Stamford Bridge in the UEFA Champions League.
The Bavarians, on the other hand, are now unbeaten in their last 11 games across all competitions, having won 10 of them. A run that has been inspired with the 3-1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur in December.
Furthermore, Bayern Munich remain unbeaten in their last 12 Champions League away games (9 wins and 3 draws), including a goalless draw against Liverpool in last season's round of 16.
Hans-Dieter Flick's men will be keen to extend their strong form and the hard-fought win against Paderborn came in the right moment – it will remind them that they're not invincible and that they must be more focused, especially when they travel abroad to face an English side.
We are backing the German Champions to record a victory in this clash.