London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has faith the Blues can again shock Bayern Munich in the Champions League despite their faltering form of late in the Premier League.
A 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Saturday was Chelsea’s first win five games in the league to remain in control of the race for the top four and a place in the Champions League next season.
Bayern, though, are favourites to sweep aside Lampard’s inexperienced squad and gain revenge for a defeat on home soil in the 2012 Champions League final.
Lampard was part of the victorious Chelsea side that night in Munich and believes he can find weaknesses to hurt the Bundesliga leaders.
“My job is just to prepare the game, look at the opponent, see their strengths, our strengths and see if we can see weaknesses there,” said Lampard.
“I understand if people do call us the underdogs because the Bayern Munich team is so strong and if you look at the team, the medals, the experience they have, maybe we do not have that experience.
“But these things are there to change. The underdog is there to turn those things around, those are some of the best stories in sport. I am focused on what it is going to take to win these two matches.”
‘Form of his life’
The obvious threat to Chelsea comes from Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 10 of his 38 goals this season in the Champions League.
“Robert at the moment is playing in the form of his life, he’s fit and full of confidence,” said Bayern boss Hansi Flick.
“He has a real run at the moment and we hope that he will continue that here in the last 16 against Chelsea.”
Lampard has bemoaned Chelsea’s inability to turn chances into goals this season and admitted to being a big admirer of the Polish striker.
“Form of his life means something special with Lewandowski because of how special he has been consistently in Europe for many years,” added Lampard. “Everything about him is top class.”
The appointment of Flick on a temporary basis after the sacking of Niko Kovac in November has helped propel Bayern back to the top of the Bundesliga with a run of eight wins and one draw in their last nine games.
Chelsea came through a tough group to knock out last season’s semi-finalists Ajax and reach the last 16, but Lampard knows it will take much more to break Bayern’s hearts in Europe again.
“Against a team like Bayern Munich in the knockout stages of the Champions League, the levels have to go up.
“I know they had difficulties earlier in the season, but it is a club that seems to overcome difficulties because of the strength of the players, the club itself, the structure, the fans.
“I have a huge amount of respect for Bayern Munich.”
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