‘Life or death’ for Chelsea against a Dortmund on a roll. Attractive crossover revenge is expected at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea, the team that invested the most in the ‘winter market’, but without obtaining the expected results, faces this Tuesday (5:00 p.m. in Chile) a round of 16 round of the Champions League ‘life or death’since it is practically the only thing that remains of the season, against a Borussia Dortmund that arrives with an advantage from the first leg (1-0) and on a positive streak.
This round of 16 is really a life or death game for Chelsea, because it is played the only thing left of the season: the Champions League, and because if Graham Potter falls, he can run out of credit.
With just six wins since taking over from Thomas Tuchel in September, Potter He is among the worst coaches in Chelsea’s history by numbers and if he does not reach the quarterfinals, not only will he be left without incentives this season, he may also jobless.
The lack of a goal is a very big penalty when it comes to facing a comeback and it is that Chelsea they have barely scored two goals in their last seven games. Their numbers against goal are on par with those of the bottom team in the Premier and despite the investment in winter, of more than 330 million, they have not found a reliable striker.
In fact, the winning goal this Saturday was scored by a central defender, Wesley Fofana, and the previous Joao Félix. The last goal of a ‘nine’ in this Chelsea was made by Kai Havertz against Crystal Palace on January 15.
In addition, for this match they have the casualties of Thiago Silva, Mason Mount, N’golo Kanté, César Azpilicueta, Edouard Mendy and Armando Broja. Potter’s question is whether to form with the usual 3-4-3 or whether to vary to a more offensive 4-2-3-1. In any case, it is quite possible that the three attackers from the victory against Leeds will repeat: Sterling, Félix and Havertz, with Fernández and Kovacic behind.
There Potter will have to decide between playing with Félix in a band or as ’10’, if he opts for one more attacker (Mudryk or Ziyech) or for a central defender. The decision can be made by the fact that Benoit Badiashile was not registered in the Champions League and, together with Silva’s loss, Chelsea do not have as many options for the rear.
The English coach hopes to recover Reece James for this duel, who due to physical problems missed the weekend’s victory against Leeds.
Borussia Dortmund comes into the second leg against Chelsea not only with the minimal advantage given by the 1-0 first legbut also in the middle of a 10 game winning streak that has given security to those led by Edin Terzic.
Dortmund are tied in the Bundesliga on points with Bayern, who lead only by best goal difference and have shown signs of being able to make up for losses at key moments.
In the last game, against Leipzig, the starting goalkeeper Georg Kobel had trouble warming up and his substitute, Alex Meyer, played a very good game, which is symptomatic of what is happening at the moment with Dortmund. Those who come from the bench respond and the team continues to win.
Kobel has traveled to London after recovering from muscular discomfort but his participation in the match is not yet decided. Donyel Malen was also on the flight, who had been low against Leipzig.
On the other hand, there are two important players in the attacking part who will surely not be there due to injury: Youssufa Moukoko and Karim Adeyemi, author of the only goal in the first leg against Chelsea.
Dortmund will not have Julian Ryerson either, sanctioned for accumulating yellow cards, so with almost absolute certainty the left back will be for the Portuguese Raphael Guerreiro.
For the rest, after the game against Leipzig Terzic has little reason to think about changes to the starting eleven unless he has to consider wear and tear problems of one or another player.
The central pair formed by Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle has become almost immovable, with the permission of Mats Hummels who is gradually getting used to his position on the bench.
At right-back Marius Wolf has had some great games and ahead of defense Emre Can, Jude Bellingham and Salih Özcan are usually the first choice for a fairly balanced midfield.
In the offensive part, Marco Reus has started again, partly due to Adeyemi’s injury, and usually forms the attacking trio along with a Julian Brandt in great shape and Sebastien Haller who, after going through his cancer treatment, he is still looking for his best version.
Haller does not usually play the full 90 minutes, so it is to be expected that at some point in the second half he will be replaced by Anthony Modeste or by Malen.
Chelsea: Kepa; James, Cowboy, Flying, Chilwell; Fernandez, Kovacic, Felix; Sterling, Havertz and Ziyech.
Borussia Dortmund: Meyer o Kobel; Wolf, Süle, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro; Can; Bellingham, Özcan; Brandt, Reus; Haller.
Dortmund are unbeaten in their last five #UCL matches (W2 D3)…. pic.twitter.com/OZzOymcOEo
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 6, 2023