Last weekend, Chelsea fell 2-1 to German giants Bayern Munich in the first leg of this Women’s Champions League semifinal. That loss came just a few short days after Chelsea secured a draw against league rivals Manchester City, and, in effect, a second consecutive WSL title. Now, the Blues return home to Kingsmeadow, this time with a week’s preparation, to attempt to overcome a one-goal disadvantage. It will be a difficult task, but one Chelsea are absolutely capable of achieving.
Something in the air feels like the Blues are going to reach the final. Quite possibly it’s the way Chelsea have dominated all year; with an historic quadruple still possible. Or perhaps it’s because Chelsea were able to finally overcome our Champions League nemesis, Wolfsburg. Most of all though, it was because of the way manager Emma Hayes spoke after the first leg, promising that her team “puts in the performance of a lifetime” in the return leg.
After all she and the Blues have accomplished, I’m not betting against her.
Emma Hayes: ‘I will make sure the team put in the performance of their life next week.’ #UWCL #CFCW pic.twitter.com/G3ylXL5Ggd— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) April 25, 2021
Date / Time: Sunday, May 2nd, 2020, 12:30 BST; 7:30am EDT; 5:00pm IST
Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI)
Forecast: Partly cloudy, mild
On TV: None BT Sport 1 (UK); None (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport App (UK) ; YouTube????? (Last week’s first leg was shown live on Chelsea’s YouTube channel. It is frustratingly unclear whether this leg will be as well).
Chelsea FCW team news: Just as ahead of last weekend, all eyes will be on the fitness of captain Magda Eriksson. There was hope she could be fit for the first leg, but she was ruled out at the last minute. The task at hand is big enough even with Eriksson. Without her, our chances drop noticeably.
Chelsea’s “easiest” route to overturning the tie is thanks to our away goal. A single goal, combined with a clean sheet would be enough. A clean sheet against Bayern Munich, without Eriksson however is likely to be a pipe dream. Either way, Ann-Katrin Berger will likely need one of her vintage performances.
Melanie Leupolz was credited with Chelsea’s only goal in the first game, despite knowing absolutely nothing about it. She’ll be expected to play again tomorrow against her former club. Ji So-yun joined Leupolz in the middle last weekend, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Erin Cuthbert instead for the second leg. Her energy, particularly when pressing, could really help to disrupt Bayern’s fluidity in attack.
The vaunted Chelsea attack was largely muted last time out, as Kerr, Harder, and Kirby weren’t able to operate in the attacking spaces they’re used to. Bethany England came on late and provided a bit of a spark. Regardless of who is picked, the Blues will need to create more chances in the rematch.
Bayern Munich team news: Darth Vader’s theme music plays in my head every time I look at Bayern Munich’s lineup. They have been an absolute force this season, laying waste to everything in their path. Game-planning against them is particularly difficult, highlighted by the distribution of goals and assists amongst their squad. Sydney Lohmann scored Bayern’s first goal in leg one and is expected to start up top with Lina Magull. Lineth Beerensteyn also started in the first leg but Linda Dallman may be handed the chance this time out.
Melanie Leupolz’s departure from the Bayern Munich midfield was a big one, but one they have been able to sustain. The experienced Simone Laudehr will likely be joined by Sarah Zadrazil and twenty-year-old Klara Bühl. Don’t let Bühl’s lack of experience be deceiving, as she’s already accumulated eight league goals for Bayern this season.
Hana Glas is the biggest reason Bayern find themselves a goal to the good going into the second leg. She caused constant problems down the right side, highlighted by a goal and an assist. After finding an advantage in the first leg, Glas will no doubt be looking to exploit additional opportunities. While the fullbacks are provided license in attack, Amanda Ilestedt and Marina Hegering will be expected to shore up things from the center back positions. The Blues will have to find a way through the Bayern “trees” to have a chance to beat goalkeeper Laura Benkarth. Bankarth was given very little to do in the first leg and Chelsea will hope to keep her much busier this time around.
Previously: Bayern Munich hosted the Blues in Germany last Sunday in the first leg of this Champion’s League semifinal. Hana Glas was the player of the match, creating Bayern’s first goal before adding the second on her own.