Would you be willing to trade all the days from this day on, for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our ... PLACE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS!
I could imagine Billy “Blood” McCulloch giving that Braveheart-esque motivational speech ahead of tonight’s game, but we know that his motivational techniques involve more screaming and less coherence. At least according to José Mourinho that one time.
But if it work, it works! We’re going to need something special tonight to overcome even such a narrow deficit against a team in seemingly unbeatable form (10 wins in a row in all competitions now), so whoever and whatever it takes — be that a coach, a player, a consultant, or a masseur. Written in the stars, or the snow.
Date / Time: Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 20.00 GMT; 3pm EST: 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Danny Makkelie (on pitch); Pol van Boekel (VAR)
Forecast: Freezing cold; chance of snow
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); CBS, UniMás, TUDN (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport Football Plus (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+, Univision Now (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: A few weeks ago, taking perhaps undue hope from the 1-0 first leg defeat, we had hung our Champions League hopes on the defending of Thiago Silva, the play of wing-back Reece James, the return of midfielder N’Golo Kanté, and the promise of an attack led by João Félix. Alas, Silva’s injured, James is a doubt, Kanté’s still not ready, and Félix has only managed to find the crossbar in our anemic attack.
But we did grind out a win over the weekend, and we don’t need a spectacular comeback like in this same round in 2012. We just need a goal, a clean sheet, and some penalty luck, or even better, a second goal. That’s been a rare occasion as well, the multi-goal game, but we did do just that in four of our last five Champions League games.
In addition to the aforementioned Kanté and Silva, we will be without César Azpilicueta (concussion), Mason Mount (abdomen; but also a suspension), Édouard Mendy (finger), and Armando Broja (ACL). We should have Christian Pulisic back for the first time in two months however.
Borussia Dortmund team news: All BVB have done since the first leg is keep winning, they’re now at ten in a row in all competitions. They’ve closed the gap at the top of the Bundesliga as well, now trailing Bayern Munich on just goal difference. They’ve conceded just five goals in their last nine games, and even when their defending hasn’t been great (like in the first leg), their goal has lived a charmed life.
However, first-choice goalkeeper Gregor Kobel missed the weekend’s 2-1 win over RB Leipzig with a hamstring strain and is a doubt for this game as well, and first-leg goalscorer Karim Adeyemi has been ruled out with a hamstring injury of his own. Veteran Alex Meyer deputized for Kobel while Sebastian Haller is expected to start instead of Adeyemi. He will present a different challenge than the speedster.
Chelsea-linked Youssoufa Moukoko is also out, as is fellow forward Donyell Malen, while defender Julian Ryerson is suspended.
BVB will settle for nothing less than a place among the final eight, and arrive expecting to advance. They’re not here for a great opportunity and a fantastic challenge. It’s up to us to match that energy.
View from the enemy: Fear The Wall
Previously: Looking for positives in a first leg defeat