Chelsea vs Bayern Munich
As Champions League matches go, this is very much a story of the new super-rich now established top club against the traditional powerhouse of German football.
Both have been crowned European champions over the past decade and both crave it again.
And there is certainly an element of pressure on both ahead of this two-legged last 16 tie.
Chelsea’s last three UEFA Champions League campaigns have all ended in the last 16, while Bayern were knocked out by English opposition at this stage 12 months ago, going down to eventual winners Liverpool – their earliest exit from the competition since 2011.
As their respective classes of 2020 go, the west Londoners are a work in progress – arguably a side in transition, although one holding onto fourth spot in the Premier League under a fairly rookie manager in fans’ favourite Frank Lampard.
In Hans Flick, Bayern Munich also have a coach who is taking his first steps in management after a long spell as Joachim Low’s number two for the German national side.
The difference is, he has inherited a side littered with seasoned internationals and experience that Chelsea only have in a handful of areas.
Their cause, nor the spotlight on Lampard, will not be helped by the absence of the likes of N’Golo Kante for this one – one of their true experienced world class talents who lifted the World Cup 18 months ago alongside Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez and Corentin Tolisso.
Meanwhile, former Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic is a doubt with an injury of his own.
In contrast, Bayern’s Champions League news is more centred on who Flick should leave out.
The Bundesliga leaders and five-time European champions have an all-star cast featuring Robert Lewandowski – the Poland captain has 38 goals in his 32 competitive club appearances this season, finding the back of the net on average every 75 minutes – Philippe Coutinho, Thomas Müller, Ivan Perisicand Serge Gnabry, unrecognisable from his time at Arsenal.
What’s more, on their last two Champions League trips to London, Bayern have claimed big wins over Arsenal (5-1 in March 2017) and Tottenham (7-2 in October 2019).
To get here, Tottenham Hotspur (7-2 and 3-1), Red Star Belgrade (3-0 and 6-0) and Olympiacos (3-2 and 2-0) were all dispatched with aplomb as the 29-time German champions recorded the best group stage in Champions League history with six wins from six and a goal difference of +19.
Bayern will start as favourites in what is, of course, a repeat of the 2012 final, won in dramatic fashion by the English club on Munich soil.
Yet for the superstitious amongst you, a quick stat: the Blues have never lost at home to German visitors, winning six of the nine fixtures.
They didn’t have a history of clashes until 16 years ago but they have made up for lost time with their subsequent meetings unmissable.
To refresh your memory, in the 2012 final Thomas Müller’s 83rd-minute header had seemingly given Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern victory at their Munich home.
However, five minutes later Didier Drogba headed an equaliser for a Chelsea team managed by Roberto Di Matteo.
Former Blues winger Arjen Robben had an extra-time penalty saved by Petr Čech and there was more spot-kick misery for Bayern in the shoot-out when Čech saved from Ivica Olić and Bastian Schweinsteiger as Chelsea triumphed 4-3 on penalties to be crowned champions of Europe.
Bayern were victorious in the 2013 UEFA Super Cup between the teams at the Eden Arena in Prague.
After claiming the crown 12 months later, they met Chelsea who had won the Europa League.
They twice came from behind with Franck Ribéry and, dramatically in the final seconds of extra time, Javi Martínez cancelling out goals from Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard to force another penalty shoot-out.
This time Bayern ran out 5-4 winners on spot kicks.
Lampard played in both those matches, as indeed he did in the 2005 quarter-finals of the competition – their first ever meeting.
Then Jose Mourinho’s Blues prevailed 6-5 on aggregate against Felix Magath’s Bayern.
Chelsea won the first leg 4-2 at home with Lampard scoring twice. Lampard and Drogba struck again in the second leg as Bayern won 3-2 on the night but went out on aggregate.
|Chelsea vs Bayern Munich||Bayern Munich Asian Handicap -1.00 @ 2.44|
|February 26, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
The SBOTOP Champions League betting odds back Bayern 1X2 @ 1.82 with Chelsea out @ 3.95 and the draw also deemed unlikely @ 3.75.
With Asian Handicap betting, Chelsea are available +0.50 @ 2.12. Experience will surely win the day.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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