Match Preview

PMB: Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt - matchday

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

• Corners have suddenly become a powerful weapon in Chelsea’s armoury. Two of the goals in Sunday’s win came from that source, and in Germany the seventh corner of the first half led to Pedro’s goal – his third in two Europa League matches. At the Bridge the Spaniard has been involved in six goals in five starts in all competitions (four goals, two assists). Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with an assist in Germany and goal on Sunday, has also hit peak form at just the right moment, while Eden Hazard may start for only the third time in this Europa League campaign.

• In the first leg, not for the first time this season, Kepa Arrizabalaga often played goal-kicks long to team-mates upfield to avoid the Eintracht Frankfurt press rather than initiate passing moves from the back. Leverkusen also played direct and swarmed forward in numbers, overwhelming the Eagles’ rearguard in their 6-1 win on Sunday.


• However, Chelsea know that even a crestfallen and fatigued Frankfurt will come out of the blocks aggressively for the first 20 minutes, and the injury to tireless midfielder N’Golo Kante is a big blow for the Blues. David Luiz and Andreas Christensen (the only player to have completed every minute of this season’s competition) will have to be exemplary as there is no disguising the threat posed by the Filip Kostic/Luka Jovic link-up. That combination was the source of the hosts’ early goal last week, and the marking cannot be as loose again if the club is to fulfil the dream of yet another European final.


THREE AND IN QUIZ

• Several of Eintracht Frankfurt’s players looked weary of mind and body while losing 6-1 at top-four rivals Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. As in the second half against Chelsea, they struggled to stay with the pace and intensity of the opposition forwards, summed up an unforced header into his own net by centre-back Martin Hinteregger.


• The Eagles’ consolation was a heavily deflected shot from Kevin Kostic, who also set up Luka Jovic's goal against the Blues (their fifth header of the campaign). Jovic, like the influential Mijat Gacinovic, was supposed to be rested on Sunday ahead of the trip to London; both came on before half-time with seven goals already on the board. Second-top scorer Sebastien Haller may return from a long lay-off while Ante Rebic, who missed the first leg through suspension and was isolated for long periods against Leverkusen, is likely to figure upfront. Makoto Hasebe, who was in defensive midfield last week, may drop back to his usual centre-back role.

• Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, last seen at the Bridge with Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, made several saves against Leverkusen despite the heavy toll, and may find himself under fire again this evening. While in front of their own fans Frankfurt keep the average number of efforts on their goal down to nine, that figure increases to more than 12 on the road. (With Chelsea, the figures are just under seven at the Bridge and eight away.)


Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes


'It’s not easy because we have to play a dangerous team, as we saw in the first leg. They are dynamic, aggressive and dangerous in the offensive phase, especially when they find space in counter-attacks, so it’s a dangerous match.

‘In a semi-final, you always have to play against a strong team with strong players so it’s difficult to say we are favourites. They have two good strikers in [Luka] Jovic and [Ante] Rebic so we have to be careful.'


Eintracht manager Adi Hutter's pre-match quotes

'We don't need to motivate our players any more than usual because we're playing here at Stamford Bridge.

'I don't need to have individual chats with the players. They are very motivated and they can have fun with this game, but they have to be focused and show their strengths. That's why we're here.'

Man in the Middle

Referee Ovidiu Haţegan and his four assistants are all from Romania. This is the 38-year-old’s first Chelsea match.

Matchday weather outlook

A showery and breezy night in west London

- Follow the game in our Match Centre

MORE FROM CHELSEA