Chelsea to play youngsters against Bayern Munich amid Champions League injury crisis

There could be three debutants and a whole host of youngsters in Frank Lampard’s squad as the Blues try to produce a miracle in Munich

Lewis Bate, Dynel Simeu and Ian Maatsen have been told to get ready for a trip to Germany after being selected by Frank Lampard to help ease his selection crisis ahead of facing Bayern Munich away in the Champions League.

Aside from Maatsen, the youngsters have yet to make their professional debuts, but they are on red alert ahead of the upcoming second leg, with Armando Broja and Henry Lawrence possibly also travelling after being added to the club’s B-list this week.

Maatsen has played just once under Lampard, making his debut from the bench in the Blues’ 7-1 win over Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup back in September last year.

Broja has also played only one game for the club, coming on as a substitute in Chelsea‘s 4-0 win over Everton just before the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All the players mentioned are 18-years-old except Bate who is still just 17, who has already made the matchday squad without coming on away at Sheffield United in a 3-0 defeat in July.

These selections come amid an injury crisis – which is mounting after Chelsea’s 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal – ahead of a second leg which is 165 days on from the first game, played on February 25.

Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta suffered hamstring injuries at Wembley last Saturday, while Pedro dislocated his shoulder in his final minute as a Blues player with a free transfer to Roma lined up.

Pedro has had surgery on his shoulder and is set to be out for at least a month, but Roma will still honour their commitment to sign the 33-year-old.

Willian also remains a doubt, with talks over a three-year pre-contract to join Arsenal active and with a minor achilles injury continuing to bother him.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek pulled out of the FA Cup final 24 hours before kick-off and is trying to return for the Bayern trip, while N’Golo Kante was an unused sub against Arsenal as he was still not been fully fit following a hamstring injury.

Lampard will assess their fitness ahead of flying to Munich tomorrow afternoon, but the midfield pair have been able to train ahead of the match on Saturday night.

Furthermore, Chelsea have two players suspended with Marcos Alonso having been sent off in the first leg, while Jorginho’s yellow card in the match was his third in the competition and sees him also banned.

This is all on top of a long-term injury to Billy Gilmour, who still needs three months to overcome the meniscus injury that he sustained against Crystal Palace in the Premier League in July.

All in all, Lampard could be without 10 players, so is looking to the academy once again having brought his side closer to the development operation at Cobham Training Centre.

Lampard has already given an all-time record eight debuts to academy products in a single Chelsea season, including Broja and Maatsen as well as Mason Mount, Reece James, Gilmour Tino Anjorin, Tariq Lamptey and Marc Guehi. Previously holding the record at seven were Ken Shellito and Danny Blanchflower in the 1978-79 season.

Anjorin would have been included in Lampard’s squad for Bayern, but he has an untimely knock which will see him miss out too.

Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have been training but aren’t allowed to register for their new club until next season, which begins in September. RB Leipzig have unregistered Ethan Ampadu for their Champions League squad after he returned to his parent club having made just seven appearances, with two starts, in 2019-20.

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