Kai Havertz has been working hard to get back into playing shape after being forced to take it easy for two weeks following mild symptoms and a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. He’s missed all three of Chelsea’s games this month, including the weekend’s trip to Newcastle, for which he was eligible but not match fit.
Head coach Frank Lampard’s hoping to have him available on Tuesday however, when we travel to France for a Champions League contest against Stade Rennais.
“Kai is a naturally fit boy so I hope to have him travelling with us to Rennes and maybe he’ll get some minutes. I’m not sure exactly how many because it was a two-week isolation but he looks in good shape.”
Havertz’s fitness isn’t the only concern for Lampard, with Chelsea just at the start of a long and grueling stretch of games — Spurs next weekend! — and many players coming off of busy international breaks with lots of minutes (such as Mason Mount) and lots of travel (such as Thiago Silva). And that’s before we consider the actual injuries, like Ben Chilwell’s back (still a concern apparently) and Christian Pulisic’s hamstring.
Chelsea may be in good position in our group, but we cannot relax yet.
“I’ll make a decision whether to make changes or not depending on how the recovery looks. We have people like Ben Chilwell, who has had a back problem, and players who played a lot of international minutes so we’ll have to see how they are. I have faith in the squad but when I pick the team, I’ll try to pick the strongest team possible with a view to where the freshness and legs are in the group.
“We have five substitutes in the Champions League, which is obviously a big plus for us that we can make decisions during the game as well, but we know it’s going to be a really tough game out there.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Three points against Rennes would just about guarantee qualification to the knockout rounds, which could allow for more rotation in the final two group games. That would certainly be helpful in lightening the load.
But first things first, a win at Rennes.