The journey continues!
Chelsea continue their Europa League journey with a trip to Frankfurt to play Eintracht Frankfurt in what is our first fixture against decent opposition. Eintracht Frankfurt had a great end to last season by wining the DFB Pokal and they carried that momentum into this season as they are currently 4th in the table. Frankfurt have won 15 drawn 9 and lost 7 of their 31 games till now as they look to secure a Champions League spot for next season. Frankfurt finished top of Group H as they won all 6 of their games scoring 17 goals and conceding only 5. The group also had Lazio, Marseille, and Apollon Limmasol with the first two being good opposition. Frankfurt then faced Shakhtar in the Round of 32 where they drew 2-2 in Donetsk but won 4-1 in the 2nd leg at Frankfurt. The Round of 16 saw tough opposition once again in Inter Milan, Frankfurt managed to scrape into the quarters 0-1 on aggregate. The quarters saw Frankfurt face Benfica who were one of the favourites and the tie looked done in the first leg as Benfica beat Frankfurt 4-2 at home. The two away goals were crucial for Frankfurt though as they beat Benfica 2-0 at home in the 2nd leg and got through on away goals. Frankfurt have a great team with players like Trapp, Hasebe, Rebic, Jovic etc and so pose a massive threat to Chelsea.
Compared to Frankfurt Chelsea have had a really easy run to this stage and still found it difficult against the likes of Slavia Praha and so Chelsea will really need to up their game if they want to reach the final. For Chelsea the biggest positive is that the 2nd leg is at home and so if we can get an away goal or more in Frankfurt it should set us up nicely for a strong performance at home. Chelsea have two more fixtures left in the Premier League and with top four still in the balance and Chelsea still trying to reach the final of the Europa League the season can still finish on a high. Chelsea similar to Frankfurt have been in a small slump of form. Chelsea have not won in their last three league games having lost to Liverpool and then drawn against Burnley and United. Frankfurt have had the exact same form having lost their first and then drawn the last two. There is much to play for and with this potentially being Hazard’s final 4 or 5 games it would be great for him to end his time at Chelsea with us back in the top four and a trophy to add as well.
Chelsea Team Preview
Rudiger suffered a season ending injury to his knee on Sunday and so he will be out for the next 3-4 months at least. CHO was already injured and Willian might also start on the bench. Kepa should start in goal, Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson to start in defence, Jorginho, Kante, and the rested RLC to start in midfield, and Hazard, Giroud, and Pedro to start up front for Chelsea. With Rudiger injured either Ampadu or Cahill should see them get a spot on the bench at least.
Starting XI Prediction
It is the biggest game we have had in the Europa League till now and it is on the players to finish the season on a high note. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!