Ladies preview: Champions League tie climax tonight

Chelsea Ladies kick-off the deciding Round of 32 game in Munich at 6pm UK time, a game that can be watched live on Chelsea TV and on the club’s YouTube channel

A 1-0 lead over Bayern is held from the first leg so there is all to play for in Bavaria, and the official Chelsea website looks ahead to the game here…

 

FIRST-LEG RECAP

A Drew Spence goal early in the game was sufficient for victory in the Ladies’ first European outing at our new home of Kingsmeadow.

Our midfielder, who also scored our first WSL goal at our new home, finished a wonderful move which also heavily featured Hannah Blundell and Ramona Bachmann in the build-up. Although we came under some heavy pressure from Bayern in the second half, and Hedvig Lindahl in goal had some busy moments, there was grit and maturity in the way we went about our business and no away goal was conceded.

The result must go down as the best yet for Emma Hayes’s side in the Women’s Champions League, in what is the third season in the competition.


THE FORM

The Blues started the new season with consecutive 6-0 wins and followed that up with back-to-back 1-0 victories. The first leg of the tie against Bayern Munich was included in the latter run, which was our first success against German opposition in the Women’s Champions League at the fifth attempt, although each of the previous four had been against Wolfsburg.

Ahead of this second leg, we faced Liverpool at Kingsmeadow and an early Maren Mjelde goal was the difference between the sides; unlike the Bayern game, there was little pressure from the visitors and Becky Spencer barely had a save to make, with the former Birmingham keeper one of six changes made to the starting line-up.

Following their trip to Kingsmeadow, Bayern faced their opening German Cup tie of the season and recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory at Alberweiler. They have also won three of their four matches in the Bundesliga, although their solitary league defeat this term was in front of their home supporters against Freiburg.  

 

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT

Emma Hayes expects another tough game against Bayern tonight and while she will pay the German side full respect, the Blues boss expects her players to offer an attacking threat.

'The first leg was, in my opinion, the biggest win in Chelsea Ladies history,' she said. 'Bayern are the third best team in Europe and we are the underdog. They beat us 3-0 in pre-season and it should have been six, so to go from that to a 1-0 at home is huge progress.

'German teams, as we have seen, regularly beat English teams and we want to make history for the club tonight. We need to stay switched on, do the right things and respect our opponent – but not so much they push us into our own half. It won't just be one-way traffic.'
 

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Skipper Katie Chapman believes our strength in depth and tactical know-how will both be factors in tonight’s second.

‘Liverpool was good preparation for us – it was another game under our belt and another win,’ she said. ‘It’s going to be tough going over to Munich, but we’re ready for it.

‘We’ve got a great squad and that’s brilliant for Emma. She can look at the bench and know that any one of the players she calls on can make a difference. No one knows her starting XI, which is great for training and games.

‘We got our tactics right in the first game. Our aim was to not concede and get a positive result, so we go there with an advantage. It’s going to be a tough game, they’re going to come at us so we’ve got to be prepared for that, but I’m sure we’ll get our tactics right for this match too.

‘In our previous ties against German sides we’ve played the away leg after losing at home, which has meant we were also chasing. To have a clean sheet and one-goal advantage is massive for us.’ 
 

ELSEWHERE ACROSS EUROPE

Rivalling Chelsea and Bayern for the tie of the round was the mouthwatering clash between Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid, although the German side’s resounding 3-0 win away from home in the first leg has left them with one foot in the next round.

Barcelona, Manchester City and both Prague clubs also take healthy away leads into the second legs of their ties, as do the holders, Lyon.

There were victories for Fiorentina and Ajax on their debuts in the Women’s Champions League proper, but Glasgow City – the side we beat on our bow in the competition – look to be heading out after losing 3-0 in the first leg against Kazakh side BIIK-Kazygurt.