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Champions League preview: Chelsea vs Bayern Munich

Chelsea welcome Bayern Munich to Stamford Bridge for the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 clash on Tuesday night.

The Blues ended a four-match winless run in the Premier League with a 2-1 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and that has helped them maintain the fourth position on the Premier League table.

Meawhile, the visitors have been in splendid form in the Bundesliga and they have dropped just two points from the previous nine games. Still, they are just one point ahead of RB Leipzig at the top of the standings.

Previous Champions League meeting:

Their last Champions League meeting came during the 2012 final where the Blues won on penalties. Bayern dominated the final in their home turf and took the lead in the 83rd minute through Thomas Muller.

However, the Premier League outfit levelled the proceedings five minutes later. Didier Drogba scored with a splendid header from what was the club’s only corner of the entire game.

Ultimately, the game went to penalties after added extra-time and Drogba was once again the man of the moment as he converted the match-winning spot-kick to hand the Blues with their maiden Champions League title.

Bayern did manage to win the next edition of the competition. They got their lukewarm revenge on the Blues in the 2013 European Super Cup where they won on penalties after the scores were level at 2-2 after 120 minutes.

Players to watch out for:

Olivier Giroud – Chelsea: Chelsea will need to avoid conceding a costly away goal to the Bavarian giants and Frank Lampard may once again go with three central defenders. Still, the manager will want to take at least a goal advantage to the Allianz Arena and Giroud may have a key role to play. The Frenchman is one of the best in the business when it comes to holding up the ball for his teammates but he will need to show more intent by testing Bayern’s defenders in the box with his physical presence. Giroud has impressed against Bayern in the past while playing for Arsenal. He has bagged four goals from the previous seven meetings against them.

Serge Gnabry – Bayern Munich: While most of the focus will be on Robert Lewandowski, Gnabry remains an equally potent threat to the Blues goal from the right side of the attack. Should the Blues go with a back three, Marcos Alonso is the likely candidate to start at left wing-back and that could present the German with an advantage. Alonso showed his offensive quality at the weekend with a tremendous low shot from outside the box to find the net against Spurs but defensively, there are still question marks, given he often finds himself higher up the field when he is dispossessed. Gnabry, who has bagged 15 goals and nine assists this term, should definitely pose Alonso with a stiffer challenge than in the recent derby.

Prediction:

The game could be open-sided, considering Lampard has rarely opted for a defensive formation at home. That should see goals from either side but we are anticipating Bayern to beat the Blues as they have the better options when it comes to the attacking department.

Chelsea 1-3 Bayern Munich

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