Toni Rudiger believes Chelsea will be playing without pressure when they head to the Allianz Arena to take on Bayern Munich tomorrow evening aiming to overturn a 3-0 deficit in the Champions League last-16.
The Blues were beaten at Stamford Bridge way back in February in this tie’s first leg and now head to the German capital with little to lose on top of a number of injury concerns.
Frank Lampard confirmed Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Pedro would miss out in his briefing before Rudiger, returning to his home country, discussed the task ahead for him and his team-mates.
‘We were disappointed after the Arsenal game but this is a different competition,’ said Rudiger at the pre-match press conference.
‘We lost the first game but this is a situation where we have nothing to lose, the pressure is not on our side and that can be something good for us. We have to produce on the pitch and try the best we can.
‘We all know that Bayern are a good team and they were before with [Jupp] Heynckes and [Pep] Guardiola. It will be a difficult night but we have to go out there and prove it to ourselves. We will have to give everything to turn it around.’
A clean sheet will probably be imperative if we are to produce the most unlikeliest of comebacks on the European stage and Rudiger acknowledges that rearguard improvements are essential, not just in the short-term but moving forward as well.
‘It’s normal that people will criticise because we concede too many goals,’ added the 27-year-old. ‘It’s something that after this game we need to analyse, address things and try to improve.
‘There will not be much of a holiday and then we have the Premier League again but it’s the same for everyone and we just need to adapt to it. We have time to improve things and that’s all we can do.’
Injuries to Pulisic, Pedro and Willian will possibly give an opportunity for Callum Hudson-Odoi from the start. It would be the teenager’s first start since the first day of February and Rudiger believes it is a perfect chance for the forward to showcase his quality.
‘Callum is a young guy with loads of talent,’ added the defender. ‘Of course in a game like this, it's Bayern Munich and there was a lot of talk [linking the youngster to a transfer to Bayern].
‘He wants this type of game and that’s why you play football. Of course, he wants to prove a point.’