It may be just three weeks since the Blues finished the last campaign but, for one player at least, our first pre-season fixture can’t come soon enough.
With Chelsea heading to the AMEX Stadium this afternoon to take on Brighton, coincidently the same opposition and venue for our first Premier League clash of the upcoming season in a fortnight’s time, it could also be the first glimpse we get of Timo Werner taking to the field in a Chelsea shirt.
The summer signing from RB Leipzig has had to wait patiently as the 2019/20 was wrapped up following a later than planned conclusion but, now the moment has come, the German striker has spoken of his excitement to get underway for the Blues, in a game you can watch live and for free on this website and The 5th Stand app.
‘I’m very excited,’ said Timo, in an exclusive chat ahead of his first Chelsea outing. ‘I can’t wait!
‘I was training on my own for a while when I first signed, but I’ve been working with the whole team over the past week or so and it’s been great. It was strange at first [when I arrived] because you just want to work hard, meet all the team and get straight to it on the training field but I had to be patient.
‘I’m very happy that the league starts in two weeks and I’m excited to test myself in the Premier League. I also can’t wait for the friendly game against Brighton, to finally get out there wearing the Blue shirt.’
The Blues take on Brighton this afternoon for our first pre-season friendly of the shortened summer, with a handful of Seagulls supporters being granted access to the AMEX Stadium as part of a government-backed trial into allowing fans back into football stadia.
For Timo, his main focus is on getting out on the pitch in a Chelsea shirt. However, that’s not to say he isn’t considering the impact the lack of fans has and hopes we will be in a position soon where we can perform in front of the Chelsea supporters.
‘It’s very strange to be playing in empty stadiums but now I think it has actually become quite normal, because we played the last 10 or so games without fans,’ explained our German striker.
‘Of course, we have to accept this but also you could really see the difference between the first half of the season with fans, and the second without. It’s a big change and it’s a different part of the sport that you have to get used to.
‘With the fans in the stadium, there’s more passion and lots of emotions and that gives you more on the pitch. It gives you a push to beat the opposition and of course, we want the fans back. But for now, we have to play in a quiet stadium.
‘Hopefully we will be able to have fans back in the stadium soon, because that’s what everybody wants. Maybe it won’t be there for the first few games but hopefully soon, because we want them with us.’
Today’s game, you could argue, could be treated as a dress rehearsal for the opening day of the new season and Werner believes the challenge that will be put down by Graham Potter’s side can be seen as a good test for Frank Lampard’s Blues.
‘It’s a little bit strange to play them twice in such a short space of time but it will be a good test for us,’ added Timo.
‘You never really know how pre-season games will go, but it’s all about getting ourselves ready for the first Premier League game. Of course, we want to beat Brighton in both games but today’s game will be a good chance to see how we are performing as a team. It will be a big test but hopefully we can try and beat them today and then again in two weeks!’
You can watch today’s game live and for free (kick-off 3pm UK time) on both this website and The 5th Stand app