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Bayern vs Chelsea Women's Champions League preview

Bayern München and Chelsea are both aiming to reach their first final as they face off in the last four.

Chelsea's Pernille Harder travels to Germany, where she made a big impact with Wolfsburg
Chelsea's Pernille Harder travels to Germany, where she made a big impact with Wolfsburg Chelsea FC via Getty Images

A first-time UEFA Women's Champions League finalist is assured when Bayern München take on Chelsea over the next two Sundays for a place on Gothenburg on 16 May.

Meet the semi-finalists

Bayern, unique among German entrants to this competition, are yet to lift the trophy and their only previous semi-final ended in 1-0 home and away defeats by Barcelona two years ago. However, they started this season with 26 straight wins and although that run was halted by a German Cup loss at Wolfsburg and then league defeat by Hoffenheim, they remain top of the Bundesliga after getting back on track in midweek. However, first-choice goalkeeper Laura Benkarth suffered a knee injury against Wolfsburg and 19-year-old Maria Luisa Grohs has been deputising, though both Sydney Lohmann and Klara Bühl have returned to action.

Chelsea, a step closer to retaining the English title after Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Manchester City, saw off Atlético in the round of 16 and then beat Wolfsburg 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals to eliminated a club that had knocked the Blues out three times in the past. That included the 2018 semi-finals, a year before they fell to Lyon in the last four, but the additions of Sam Kerr and, from Wolfsburg, Pernille Harder, combined with Fran Kirby have given Chelsea a deadly attacking line-up, as they proved in the last eight. And in midfield is Melanie Leupolz, a vital player for Bayern over the last six seasons before her summer 2020 switch to England. However, along with the injury to Maren Mjelde, captain Magdalena Eriksson is a doubt.

Bayern's quarter-final second-leg win at Rosengård was the last in a run of 26 victories in a row
Bayern's quarter-final second-leg win at Rosengård was the last in a run of 26 victories in a rowUEFA via Getty Images

Form guide

Last six games: WLLWWW
Last match: Turbine Potsdam 2-3 Bayern, 21/04
Where they stand: 1st in Frauen Bundesliga

Last six games: DWWWWW
Last match: Manchester City 2-2 Chelsea, 21/04
Where they stand: 1st in FA Women’s Super League, FA Women's Cup round of 16, FA WSL Cup winners

Possible line-ups

Bayern: Grohs; Glas, Hegering, Laudehr, Ilestedt; Magill, Zadrazil; Beerensteyn, Dallmann, Bühl; Schüller

Chelsea: Berger; Charles, Bright, Ingle, Andersson; Leupolz, Ji, Cuthbert; Harder; Kirby, Kerr

View from the camps

Lina Magull and Jens Scheuer speak to the media
Lina Magull and Jens Scheuer speak to the mediaFC Bayern München

Lina Magull, Bayern captain: "Chelsea are a very good team with many good players especially in attack. Two years ago in pre-season we won 5-0 but you cannot compare that with their current team. I don’t know if they are a new power in Europe but we know that they are very strong opponents."

Jens Scheuer, Bayern coach: "Chelsea have managed to build an outstanding team in recent years. They have many international stars in their squad. For example they signed Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg. Chelsea wanted to be at the top of Europe and they walked the talk. It’s a huge challenge for us."

Emma Hayes, Chelsea manager: "Bayern are difficult to Wolfsburg. They have got a log of creative players that will look to break us down differently. They are quick down the wings, in [Carina] Schüller and Bühl, players who are top young prospects. In [Linda] Dallmann and Magull they have two outstanding midfield payers. [Lineth] Beerenysyen – they have got a lot of creative threats."

Fran Kirby: Chelsea forward: "We’ve been close before and we know how it hurts when you don’t make it to the final. We need to go in there with a strong mentality. Getting into a Champions League final would be amazing, Something this club has been working really hard to get to. To do it with an English club would be so special."