Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said that he understands if his side are labelled as “underdogs” when they face Bayern Munich in the Champions League knockout stages on Tuesday.
Bayern had a tough start to the season, replacing manager Niko Kovac with Hansi Flick in November, but have since seen a resurgence and lead the Bundesliga. The German side won all six of their Champions League group games earlier this season, including an emphatic 7-2 away win over Tottenham Hotspur in October.
Tuesday’s match is the first time that the teams face each other since the memorable 2012 Champions League final in Munich, which saw Chelsea beat Bayern on penalties.
Lampard, who captained the Blues in that 2012 final, said that Chelsea can be benefit from an underdog status in Tuesday’s clash.
“I understand if people do call us the underdog because they [Bayern] are so strong. Being the underdog, it’s there for us to turn it around,” Lampard said.
“I think the underdog talk is better to come from outside, from people looking from out to in. When you look at their team — the talent they are already have, the medals they already have — maybe we don’t have that experience.
“Being the underdog, if so, then it’s for us to turn it around. Those are the best stories in sport.”
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic did not echo his manager’s comments, saying that Chelsea enter the game on an even level with the Bundesliga champions.
“It’s always better to be the underdog but I don’t think we are,” Kovacic said. “We are similar, there is not much difference between us and Bayern.”
Chelsea will be tasked with finding a way to contain Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored his 38th goal of the season in all competitions during a 3-2 win over Paderborn on Friday.
“Lewandowski is in form of his life,” Flick said. “He is full of confidence. As a leader up front he is very important for us.
“He is absolutely brilliant. I don’t even know how many goals he has scored this season but I know that he is way up there.”
Lewandowski is the joint-top scorer in the Champions League this season with 10 goals in five games, alongside Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who began the campaign with Austrian side FC Salzburg.