Chelsea will be without the services of centre-back Antonio Rudiger for the first leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final clash against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Chelsea will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face off against Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their 2018-19 UEFA Europa League final-four contest.
Coming into the game on the back of consecutive draws against Burnley and Manchester United, Maurizio Sarri’s men will want to produce a reaction and put themselves in a strong position to make it through to the final in Baku.
However, their preparations for the game have been hampered by injuries in defence, as Antonio Rudiger has been ruled out for the season, while Gary Cahill is also unavailable for the trip to Germany. Speaking of the injuries in his pre-match press conference, Sarri had grim news surround Rudiger.
“Rudiger is out for at least three months. I spoke with him yesterday and of course he is really disappointed but he has to think to return better than before. Cahill is out due to a problem with his Achilles tendon. I hope to have him recovered in one week but I don’t know at the moment, I have to speak to the doctor.”
Rudiger’s injury should pave way for Andreas Christensen to feature at the heart of the Chelsea defence, alongside David Luiz. Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to continue on the right side of the backline, while there could be a change on the opposite side, with Emerson Palmieri coming in for Marcos Alonso, despite the Spaniard scoring in the draw against Manchester United.
Jorginho is a guaranteed starter at the base of the three-man midfield for Chelsea, while N’Golo Kante too should feature from kick-off on Thursday night in Germany. The third midfield slot could however see a change with academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek set to replace Mateo Kovacic, who struggled to make an impression against United.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is out for the season, while Willian also picked up a knock in the weekend fixture against the Red Devils. But the Brazilian has travelled with the rest of the squad to Germany, although it is very much likely that Sarri will hand Pedro a start on the right side of the attacking trident.
On the left flank, star man Eden Hazard is a certain starter, while Olivier Giroud, who is the leading goalscorer in the Europa League this term with 10 goals, should replace the struggling Gonzalo Higuain as Chelsea’s centre-forward against Eintracht.