Graham Potter had mixed news regarding the availability of Reece James, Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante for Chelsea’s Champions League decider against Borussia Dortmund.
The head coach addressed the media at Stamford Bridge on the eve of our last-16 second-leg meeting with the German side and provided an update on three of his players who trained this morning having missed the win over Leeds at the weekend.
James was absent with a tight hamstring, Pulisic hasn’t featured since January because of a knee problem, while you have to go back to August for the last time Kante played for us.
Chelsea vs Dortmund James and Pulisic injury update
‘Reece we’ll make a decision on tomorrow,’ confirmed Potter.
‘Christian is in the squad. He’s training well and looking good.
Chelsea vs Dortmund Kante injury update
‘It’s too soon for N’Golo,’ added Potter.
‘He’s had two full training sessions, so too soon, but he’s looking good. We’re going to continue with that progress.
‘It’s a complex one with him. He’s had a long time out. There’s back in full training but then it’s how you get him back up to speed to play Champions League and Premier League football.
‘That’s where he needs a bit of time with the group in full training, and then we need to build his minutes up. He won’t be able to go straight in for 90 minutes any time soon, but the fact he’s training and getting closer is exciting for everybody.’
Penalty taker confirmed
Potter is looking forward to what he expects to be a special night at Stamford Bridge, with the prize on offer a place in the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition.
With away goals no longer in place in the Champions League, any one-goal margin of victory for the Blues would mean extra-time and, if no more goals were scored, penalties.
Potter was asked if the players have been training for that possibility, and, following the departure of Jorginho in January, who our first-choice spot-kick taker is now.
‘The boys are always practising penalties,’ explained Potter.
‘We are prepared for that eventuality. We want to get it done before that but if not then okay, we can go through that way.
‘Kai is our designated penalty taker now,’ the head coach revealed.
Chelsea vs Dortmund injury list
Armando Broja remains unavailable to Potter as he continues to work on his rehabilitation following injury. Thiago Silva is another longer-term absentee. Mason Mount missed the Leeds game through injury but is suspended anyhow.
Dortmund will be missing Youssoufa Moukoko, while first-leg goalscorer Karim Adeyemi and goalkeeper Gregor Kobel are both doubts.
Chelsea vs Dortmund suspension
Mason Mount and Dortmund’s Julian Ryerson are suspended for reaching three yellow cards in the competition.
Conor Gallagher, Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mykhailo Mudryk and Thiago Silva are one yellow card away from a one-match Champions League suspension.
In the Champions League, three yellow cards, as well as following any subsequent odd-numbered caution (fifth, seventh, ninth, etc) will result in a one-match-suspension in the competition. All yellow cards expire on completion of the quarter-finals and are not carried forward to the semi-finals.
Fernandez 3 (already served a suspension with Benfica), Mount 3, Gallagher 2, James 2, Koulibaly 2, Mudryk 2, Thiago Silva 2, Arrizabalaga 1, Kovacic 1, R Sterling 1, Ziyech 1
Chelsea vs Dortmund referee and VAR
Referee: Danny Makkelie from the Netherlands
VAR: Pol Van Boekel from the Netherlands
Danny Makkelie officiated our 3-0 home win against AC Milan earlier this season.