It’s been nearly half a year since we played the first leg of our Round of 16 matchup against Bayern Munich, and if you’ve forgotten about that 3-0 schooling at Stamford Bridge, I’m sorry to have had to remind you of it.
It was a game that truly exposed just how much further Lampard’s Chelsea still have to rise, which was then hammered home repeatedly in the season’s run-in — though we somehow still managed to finish fourth despite losing a third of our games and conceding more goals than in any other season since much of the squad had been born.
On the plus side, there should be no expectations regarding this second leg. Chelsea are in an unfamiliar situation of being the vast underdogs in a cup match, going to another team’s stadium with nothing to lose. We are the Bradford City of the 2015 FA Cup, especially if we play all the kids, which we might.
So, let’s have some fun, shall we?
Date / Time: Saturday, August 8, 2020, 20.00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (on pitch); Massimiliano Irrati (VAR) — third Chelsea match for Hategan, and the third in two years, after the 1-0 win in Amsterdam earlier this season and the 5-4 shootout win over Eintracht Frankfurt in last year’s Europa League semifinal second leg.
Forecast: HOT HOT HOT
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); Galavision (USA); Sony TEN 1 (India); SuperSport 6, Canal+ Sport (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); CBS All Access, Univision Now (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — if you’re in the US and you don’t want to subscribe to CBS because you’re not over 60 and/or don’t like Star Trek, you can also watch through Fubo TV, for which we have an affiliate link. That’s said, CBS does offer a free trial, and they will be carrying the Champions League for the next several years, so you might as well get used to it.
Bayern Munich team news: As our frenemies at BFW reminded us, Bayern once lost 4-0 at home in a Champions League second leg. But there’s not much comparison between that 2014 Real Madrid side and this Chelsea side. Meanwhile, Bayern are still Bayern, and they’ve swiftly completed their transition from the era of Robben and Ribéry, without missing too many beats. Another league and cup double is in the bag in fact.
Our only hope is that they haven’t played a competitive match in over a month, since wrapping up the Bundesliga in late June and beating Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal final in early July. So perhaps they are a bit rusty and sleepy and blasé. Their only injuries of note at Kingsley Coman and Benjamin Pavard.
Bayern’s last competitive defeat was in early December, many, many, many moons ago, while their last home loss was just before then, on the last day of November.
So yeah, don’t get your hopes up.
View from the enemy: Bavarian Football Works
Chelsea team news: It was once written in the stars over Munich, but such miracles may happen maybe once every 33 years, not every 8. Still, that’s why they play the game!
The Blues will be without a whole host of players as the injury bomb has gone off once again. Christian Pulisic is out until the first few weeks of next season, while César Azpilicueta is injured as well, which just about sums up 2020. Both Pedro and Willian are not only leaving but are also injured, though that only seems like a real thing in the former’s case — and quite a painful one, too, putting his body on the line in the final minutes of his Chelsea career only to suffer a dislocated shoulder.
Youngster Billy Gilmour’s also out, currently starting his recovery from knee surgery. Also unavailable are Jorginho and Marcos Alonso, one for yellow card accumulation, the other for a red card from the first leg.
The only bit of good news is that N’Golo Kanté and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are fit to start, but at the rate we’re going, it might be wiser to just wrap them in cotton wool and let the kids play.
Those kids include a quintet of Academy fresh faces in the 23-man traveling squad, with Armando Broja, Ian Maatsen, Dynel Simeu, Henry Lawrence, and Lewis Bate joining the grizzled Academy veterans like Mason Mount and Reece James and Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori. With nothing to lose, we might see quite a few of them feature.
Previously: Open training as part of the Champions League media protocol.