Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will be taking part in his first Champions League knockout game as a manager when the Blues take on Bayern Munich tonight and he is relishing the underdog status many have placed on his team. Ahead of the clash the Chelsea manager confirmed he will be without several key players, with wingers Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi and midfielder N’Golo Kante, all ruled out with injuries.
However, Lampard will be able to call upon Pedro, who has returned to the squad after having missed their 2-1 win over Tottenham last weekend with a slight injury.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek will also be available, after he returned from injury to make the bench against Spurs.
Striker Olivier Giroud started and scored against Tottenham but Lampard hinted that the 33-year-old could be replaced by the younger and fresher 22-year-old Tammy Abraham up front.
“It is a tight turnaround and the effort put in during a London derby against Tottenham was huge,” Lampard said about Giroud.
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“But the way he played was fantastic, not just the goal but the link he had with Mason Mount and Ross Barkley off the ball, and the work he did which was huge in the way we defended from the front.
“I know I can rely on him.”
Chelsea come into the game having won only two of their last six matches, and Lampard suggested his team could end up defending for large parts of the game.
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“My job is to look at the opponent and see if we can find weaknesses there,” he said.
“I understand if people call us the underdog because the Bayern team is so strong and they have so much experience, but the underdog is there to change things around.
“We all love an underdog story and they are some of the best stories in sport. I am focused on what it is going to take to win these two matches [against Bayern].
“A big part of my job tomorrow is to explain to the players that over two legs we need to be at our maximum. We need every detail, every box ticked in both games.
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“Bayern Munich are an incredible side with the ball. If we have to suffer without the ball we have to suffer, so that’s our job over these next two games.”
Lampard is expected to stick with starting Willy Caballero over Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger ahead of him in central defence.
Marcos Alonso is expected to keep his place at left wing-back, with Reece James on the opposite flank.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic should play as the two deep-lying central midfielders, with Mason Mount and Willian in the more advanced roles and Tammy Abraham leading the line.
Chelsea predicted line-up vs Bayern Munich – Champions League
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, James; Mount, Willian; Abraham
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