Chelsea vs Bayern Munich - Lampard accepts Chelsea are seen as underdogs against Bayern

Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by PA

Chelsea vs Bayern Munich - Lampard accepts Chelsea are seen as underdogs against Bayern

Frank Lampard has told Chelsea to turn the current European order on its head against Bayern Munich.

Lampard has accepted many will brand Chelsea underdogs when hosting the buoyant Bundesliga leaders in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday night.

The Blues boss expects a stern challenge from a Bayern side that hammered Tottenham 7-2 in London in October but has told his players they have the strength to pull off a statement victory.

“I think the underdog talk for a game like this is better to come from outside, from people looking out to in,” said Lampard.

“My job is just to prepare the game, look at the opponent and see if we can find weaknesses there. I understand if people do call us the underdog because their team is so strong and they have so much experience.

“But these things change. The underdog is there to change things around. We all love an underdog story and they are some of the best stories in sport.”

Lampard won the Champions League when Chelsea edged out Bayern on penalties in 2012, and knows just how tough it is to take on the German giants.

The former England midfielder admitted he will address his young squad specifically about the hike in pressure and quality that comes with top-level knockout football in European competition.

“I’ve got no doubts about starting any of the young players, I trust in all the players who have been part of the squad this year,” said Lampard.

“They’ve earned trust in the way they’ve played. It changes slightly when it gets to the knockout stages and I’ll speak to all the players about what that means.”

Chelsea will be without injured trio Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and N’Golo Kante on Tuesday, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be in the match squad.

Loftus-Cheek was an unused replacement in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League win over Tottenham for his first involvement of the campaign, and is accelerating his recovery after a long-term Achilles injury.

“We’ve got players with Champions League experience in the squad but we’ve also got young players at the first stages of their careers,” said Lampard.

“A big part of my job tomorrow is to explain to the players that over two legs we need to be at our maximum. We need every detail, every box ticked in both games.

“Bayern Munich are an incredible side with the ball. If we have to suffer without the ball we have to suffer, so that’s our job over these next two games.

“Bayern are for sure a team that can win the title, when you go through their team and look at the talent and unity within it.

“They are top of the Bundesliga for a reason. It’s a club that seems to overcome difficulties. I have huge respect for the club.”

Hansi Flick has warned Chelsea that Bayern Munich talisman Robert Lewandowski is “in the form of his life” going into the game.

Bayern boss Flick has heaped praise on the 31-year-old and tipped the Poland striker to cause untold problems for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Lewandowski already boasts 42 goals in 38 games for club and country this season and hit the net 10 times in the Champions League group stages alone.

“Robert at the moment is playing in the form of his life, he’s top-fit and full of confidence,” said Flick.

“He has a real run at the moment, and we hope that he will continue that here in the last 16 against Chelsea.

“As a leader up front he is very important for us but he can also show that he can put the opponent under pressure. It’s very important he is positive.

“At the moment he is absolutely brilliant, but he’s also a team player tracking back and covering in defence.

“I don’t know how many goals he’s scored this season off-hand, but he’s right up there.”

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