Match Preview

PMB: Eintracht Frankfurt v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• No one in the Premier League has a higher goal involvement than Eden Hazard (16, plus 13 assists) and the Belgian’s minor involvement in this competition up to now may change with the absence of Callum Hudson-Odoi. Pedro turned in a match-winning performance against Slavia Praue in the previous round, scoring two, setting up Olivier Giroud for another, forcing an own-goal and hitting woodwork into the bargain.

• Two former Bundesliga-based Blues will have handy experience of Frankfurt’s ground to pass on. Injured Toni Rudiger visited three times as a Stuttgart player, winning twice, including a memorable 5-4 in October 2014. Likely starter Andreas Christensen played a big part in a stunning 5-1 victory while on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach a year later. Neither Gary Cahill nor Ethan Ampadu have travelled.


• Chelsea may look to expose Frankfurt’s three centre-backs. The most comfortable on the ball, veteran Makoto Hasebe, instigates many attacks but may find himself uncomfortably pressed tonight. Their central midfield duo have conceded fouls, so set-plays might prove important in the Blues’ quest for away goals.


THREE AND IN QUIZ


• Eintracht’s Austrian coach Adi Hutter says he has ‘a plan’ for tonight, which is likely to entail stifling Jorginho. His 3-4-1-2 set-up with wing-backs allows his physical, direct team quickly to deploy five players in the opponents’ penalty area, or string five across the back to defend attacks. Defenders play the ball forward as quickly as possible to their impressive attacking trio, and only Dusseldorf have netted more Bundesliga goals from counter-attacks this season.


• Half the four players responsible for two-thirds of their goals in this competition are out tonight: Ante Rebic is suspended and Sebastien Haller remains injured. The other two are winger Filip Kostic and sought-after striker Luka Jovic, who is likely to be partnered by the equally nippy and muscular Portuguese striker Goncalo Paciencia this evening.

• Teenager Enda N’Dicka, usually left of the three centre-backs, was sent off early in their 4-2 loss at Benfica, and returns from suspension. There were some doubts about the fitness of usual no.10 Mijat Gacinovic, with ex-Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman on standby.


Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes


‘I respect very much Eintracht, they played against Inter in this competition, they played against Benfica in this competition, they are really very dangerous. They are a dynamic team with great intensity.

‘Physically they have the same characteristics as Slavia Prague but the quality is different, especially in the offensive players, so they are really dangerous at home but also away, so for us it will be very difficult to get to the final.’


Eintracht manager Adi Hutter's pre-match quotes

‘Chelsea are a Champions League team, with David Luiz, Gonzalo Higuain, Cesar Azpilicueta. It is a pure Champions League team. I did say they are the favourites. But we will have our chances, it is two matches and we can hurt an opponent.

‘You have to be realistic otherwise we wouldn't have got this far. We have been brave and we have deserved to make it to the semi-finals. But we have to stick the facts that they are the favourites.’

Man in the Middle

Referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande and his assistants are all from Spain. This is the 43-year-old’s first Chelsea match.

Matchday weather outlook

Dry and warm with some sun for the match in Germany tonight.

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