The blockbuster clash in the Champions League this week will be between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, which will take place on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge.
The two sides haven’t met since the 2013 Super Cup final, that Bayern Munich won on penalties.
The Bavarians are top of the German Bundesliga after a slow start to the season, racking up 8 wins in their last 9 league games, and they also topped Group B in the Champions League, winning all 6 matches.
Chelsea have had a topsy-turvy season, and are currently fourth in the Premier League. They narrowly made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League as well, and will look to kick on deeper into the competition.
Ahead of this huge clash, let’s take a look at the 3 key battles between Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich – 3 key battles
#1 Antonio Rudiger vs Robert Lewandowski
All eyes will be on goal-scorer extraordinaire Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 38 goals in 32 games in all competitions for Bayern so far. The Polish striker has scored in 8 of his last 10 games, scoring a total of 11 goals in the process.
Lewandowski will come up against Antonio Rudiger, who is Chelsea’s most reliable defender at the moment.
The German centre-back has the pace and intelligence to stop players, but he will have to be at the top of his game if he is to stop the Bayern Munich hit-man. The match could very well be decided on who wins this battle.
#2 Mateo Kovacic vs Thiago Alcantara
Chelsea can’t quite match Bayern when it comes to creativity and goal-scoring prowess, but they have a good midfield duo in Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho.
Kovacic has had a promising season, doing a lot of good things in midfield. The Croatian has the work-rate, energy, and determination to go up and down the pitch, pass and move, and make tackles.
He will be up against former Barcelona midfielder Thiago, who could dictate the tempo of the game if he’s given too much time and space in the middle of the park. Thiago’s silky smooth touches and ability to get out of tight situations helps Bayern in tough and press-cooker situations.
#3 Serge Gnabry vs Reece James
Another player who has been in fantastic form lately is former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry. The German has scored 15 goals – three of which have come in the last two games, and he has also registered 10 assists in 29 games in all competitions.
Gnabry has played on either flank, but we assume that he will start on the left come Tuesday. He will be up against Chelsea’s talented right-back/wing-back Reece James, who could be given the licence to maraud forward.
James has pace, strength, and can cross the ball well, which could trouble Gnabry. But the German can capitalise on space behind James and attack that area if the young English full-back attacks.