Chelsea’s reward for overcoming their primary UWCL demon, Wolfsburg, is a two-legged tie with the team above them on the Frauen Bundesliga table — Bayern Munich. Bayern are a complete team that has, until recently, been remarkably consistent. However, they have started to stumble. Whether looking ahead to this semifinal or truly entering a bad path, they’ve lost in the DFB-Pokal 2-0 to Wolfsburg, lost 3-2 to Hoffenheim (cutting their lead at the top from 5 points to 2, and they have to play Wolfsburg again), and held on for a 3-2 win over Turbine Potsdam on the same day Chelsea and Manchester City played to a 2-2 draw at Academy Stadium.
Of course, none of this will mean much of anything when the teams face one another on the pitch. Bayern are in a fantastic position to spoil Chelsea’s collection of high-profile recruits and make the UWCL Final. One such recruit is former Bayern Munich midfielder, Melanie Leupolz. The German metronome left Munich in search of titles and a new challenge, and it doesn’t get more title and new challenge-y than immediately facing your old club in the Champions League semifinals.
Overall this match should be endlessly intriguing. Against Wolfsburg, Chelsea had to be patient and look to counter, as the Wolves had the organization and athleticism to not get caught in Chelsea’s pressing traps. Bayern have stars on the pitch as well, and could in theory pose the same problems. However, Chelsea are adept at multiple pressing styles and have Sam Kerr in the form of her life.
Date / Time: Sunday, April 25, 2021, 16.00 BST; 11am EDT; 8:30pm IST
Venue: FC Bayern Campus
Forecast: Sunny; 14°C/58°F
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); none (USA)
Streaming: Chelsea TV (App, website, YouTube)
Bayern Munich team news: Bayern are a wicked team that move as one and can present danger from multiple sources. In all competitions, Lea Schüller leads them in goals with 15. However, behind her, Sydney Lohmann has 12, Klara Bühl has 9, Linda Dallmann 8, Viviane Asseyi 7, and three players have 6. As you would imagine, the assist numbers are equally as spread out. Dallmann leads everyone with 7, Lohmann and Magull have 6, and defenders Hanna Glas and Carolin Simon each have 5.
In terms of players to isolate and control, well, Chelsea may have to pick and choose right at the right time. Dallmann and Lohmann are good places to start as both are capable of scoring and assisting at an even rate. Hanna Glas has also developed into one of the best fullbacks in the world, and her service can be lethal if given space in the attacking third.
Chelsea FCW team news: Beyond the obvious, usual right back Maren Mjelde being out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, Chelsea’s biggest concern is suddenly Magdalena Eriksson. The Chelsea captain was substituted during the Blues’ FA Cup match with London City Lionesses with an injury Chelsea’s twitter account deemed ‘slight’. Five days later Eriksson wasn’t on the team sheet to face Manchester City, and her absence was clearly felt as defensive mistakes led to both of City’s goals.
I’ll be fairly blunt here: If Eriksson cannot start, Chelsea will struggle mightily and need another otherworldly performance in goal from Ann-Katrin Berger to remain within striking distance heading into the second leg.
Apart from that, Chelsea are in good form. Jess Carter and Niamh Charles have both filled in capably at right back, and Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby have continued to dominate and terrorize defenses.
Previously: Chelsea’s last competitive match against Bayern came in the 2017/18 UWCL round of 32. The Blues squeaked by on away goals, winning the first leg 1-0, losing the second 2-1. It was, of course, one Fran Kirby who gave the Blues that crucial goal at the hour mark in the second leg that proved too much for Bayern to overcome.