Bayern Munich travel to London to face English Premier League side Chelsea in the first meeting between these two since the 2012 Champions League final.
The Bundesliga leaders won all six of their group stage matches whist Chelsea finished runners-up to Valencia in their group, taking 11 points from a possible 18 in a group that also included Ajax and Lille.
Frank Lampard’s side were 2-1 winners over rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday, but it was only their fifth in their last 15 league matches. Bayern Munich were 3-2 winners over Paderborn on Friday night – their seventh in their lat eight and the only win during this run by less than two goals.
Bayern Munich welcomed back Lucas Hernandez in defence on Friday night but two starts in the space of a couple of days for the 2018 World Cup winner may be too much to ask at this stage. Hansi Flick’s side are still without Nicklas Sule in defence too, so we could see Jerome Boateng and David Alaba back in the middle of a back four for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
The only other confirmed absence for the visitors is midfielder Ivan Perisic. The Croatian has scored four and assisted three in his 15 Bundesliga appearances (9 starts) this season, following his loan move from Internazionale last summer. Perisic scored a single goal and three assists in his six group stage matches (2 starts). Kingsley Coman is a doubt too after picking up a thigh strain on Friday night.
Frank Lampard has it tougher for Chelsea as holding midfielder N’Golo Kante is expected to miss out following an injury picked up over the weekend. The French midfielder would have been key in winning back possession inside the Blues‘ half, whilst also man marking Leon Goretzka assuming the German star plays the number 10 role.
Pacey winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is “not far away” from making his return, according to the manager, but this game comes too soon for the England international. Playmaker Christian Pulisic continues to be sidelined.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Willy Caballero; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen; Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Tammy Abraham, Ross Barkley
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Benjamin Pavard, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Alphonso Davies; Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara; Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry; Robert Lewandowski
Bayern Munich are heavily favoured to win the first leg and continue their 100% winning record in this season’s competition. They’ve had extra time to rest and prepare for this game following the weekend’s fixture, aside from the short trip overseas.
Hansi Flick’s side have won eight of their last nine domestically, with seven of those coming comfortably. No one has been able to keep star striker Robert Lewandowski quiet this season, whilst Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry are goalscorers down the wings; with the latter scoring four in the 7-2 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur in London back in October.
Chelsea’s attack hasn’t created too many chances of late, notably in their 2-0 loss at home to Manchester United last Monday. Bayern Munich can claim a valuable away win with a couple of away goals to put them on their way to the quarter-finals. Prediction: Chelsea 0-2 Bayern Munich