Bayern Munich has been drawn to face Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16 in what will promise to be a sweet shot at revenge for the 2012 final at the Allianz Arena. For the opponents that Bayern could’ve been drawn to face, Chelsea is an ideal opponent, having avoided Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, SSC Napoli, Atalanta, and Lyon. Of course, drawing either Lyon or Atalanta might’ve been more favorable, but Bayern is certainly going to feel confident against a Chelsea side that is currently in a bit of a bad run of form.
Upon hearing the results of the draw, some of Bayern’s players and staff members reacted to their round of 16 opponent by giving them respect, but also expressing the confidence they have that they can beat them (FCBayern.com). Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic was particularly diplomatic in his reaction, giving Chelsea plenty of credit, especially with having such a young squad:
Chelsea has a lot of young players, they’re really good with that. Their team is attractive. It’s something that we’ll of course have to deal with. Our opponent is difficult, but with our team we absolutely want to get to the quarterfinals.
Hansi Flick also struck a predictably diplomatic tone:
There’s no such thing as an easy opponent in the round of 16. Chelsea is a good team in international competitions. Of course, the quarterfinals are our goal. We have to be very focused on the task at hand so that we can survive the two games.
Manuel Neuer expressed his confidence that Bayern can do a number on Chelsea and referenced the fact that Bayern has already fared well playing in London this season:
We’re really looking forward to London, where we’ve already had good experiences. This is a dangerous team, we have to take it very seriously and focus on the matter. Of course we want to advance on to the next round. I think we can go into the games with healthy confidence. We’re happy with our team, even against an attractive and good group like Chelsea.
Serge Gnabry is relishing the opportunity to go back to London, where he lived during his brief tenure with Arsenal. He had one of the best nights of his career in North London in Bayern’s 7-2 destruction of Tottenham, when he scored 4 goals and provided one assist in what was a historic night for Die Roten. For him, this is an extra special opportunity:
Chelsea is a good team, and this will definitely be a good matchup. There’s also going to be a great atmosphere. We‘re looking forward to it. I still have a lot of friends in London who like to go to the games there. Due to my Arsenal past, this is of course still a special game.
Joshua Kimmich doubled down on what he said over the weekend, saying that he’s confident Bayern will beat whoever is put in front of them in the remainder of the competition:
We‘re going into these games very aware. It’s still a ways off, so you can’t tell what form the teams will be in. But I think we’ll go into the games as favorites and I‘m confident that we’ll progress. The team is difficult to assess at the moment, since they don’t really have a run right now.