Predicted Chelsea team vs Borussia Dortmund – James returns, Badiashile replacement decided

It’s the biggest game of Chelsea’s season. At least so far. Overcome Borussia Dortmund this evening at Stamford Bridge and there will be a Champions League quarter-final to look forward to. Fail to do so and the campaign is effectively over.

credit : – borussia

Graham Potter’s position would come under further scrutiny, too. Saturday’s Premier League victory over Leeds United – Chelsea’s first since January 15 – was important to lift the mood but was ultimately not season-altering. The pressure very much remains on.

“We have to play well, be positive, Potter explained at his pre-match press conference yesterday. “It’s a special occasion for us in front of our supporters, to try to get into the last eight of the Champions League. We’ve had some games where we could’ve scored more than one, that’s for sure, and we need that performance tomorrow night. It’s that simple.“

We’re playing against a top team in a good place so it’s not going to be easy. But the boys are in a good place. They are confident, motivated, together and we want to take the challenge on and give our best.”

Potter will be without several players. Edouard Mendy is still recovering from surgery on a fractured finger. Thiago Silva will be absent due to a knee injury. Cesar Azpilicueta is still following concussion protocols after being knocked out against Southampton.

N’Golo Kante is back in training after six months out but Potter confirmed yesterday the France international will not be thrown back into the squad. There is a process for the midfielder to stick to.

Mason Mount didn’t train yesterday but is suspended anyway, while Armando Broja is out with a knee injury. Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, David Datro Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all not eligible to feature, having not been registered in the Champions League squad.

The biggest decision Potter has to make is whether to continue with the 3-4-2-1 shape deployed against Leeds on Saturday. It enabled Chelsea to claim a much-needed win and Potter opted to go with a structure the majority of his players are very familiar with

In goal will be Kepa Arrizabalaga once again and – on the basis of a three-man defence – Potter must decide who joins Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly. The likely option is Marc Cucurella, given the Spaniard performed on the left of a back three earlier in the campaign.

Reece James is expected to be fit and will play at right wing-back. On the opposite flank is likely to be Ben Chilwell. And Potter highlighted the dual threat the England internationals pose opponents after the weekend victory.

Enzo Fernandez has started every game since his record-breaking January switch from Benfica and will do so again. With no Kante, it’s expected that Mateo Kovacic will be deployed alongside the Argentine star.

Raheem Sterling has looked sharp since returning from injury and should begin on the right of the attacking three. Kai Havertz, now Chelsea designated penalty taker, will play through the middle and Joao Felix will come inside off the left flank.

Predicted Chelsea side: Kepa; Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella; James, Fernandez, Kovacic, Chilwell; Sterling, Havertz, Felix

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