Lampard’s tryst with youth at the Bridge
London: Frank Lampard is proud to be leading Chelsea back into the Champions League but will be without defender Antonio Rudiger for Tuesday’s clash with Valencia at Stamford Bridge.
The club’s record scorer is preparing for his first game in the competition as a manager, having replaced Maurizio Sarri. “Toni is injured. He has a groin problem and will have a scan later today,” Lampard said on Monday.
Lampard is also without fellow defender Emerson Palmieri while midfielders N’Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi are not yet match fit despite returning from injuries.
Chelsea did not feature in the Champions League last season but won the Europa League under Italian Sarri before he parted ways with the London club in the close season to join Juventus.
Lampard, scorer of one of the penalties in the shootout against Bayern in Munich in 2012 when Chelsea memorably won the Champions League for the first and so far only time, said he was looking forward to a return to Europe’s elite competition.
However, the former England midfielder is under no illusions about the size of the task. Barcelona: Barcelona captain Lionel Messi will be part of the squad to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday as he prepares to make his comeback from injury.
The Argentina striker has not played since sustaining a calf injury in preseason but Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde named him in the group which was on its way to Germany on Monday.
Messi trained on Sunday and Monday after missing the first three La Liga matches of the season. Messi sustained a soleus injury, a muscle in the back part of the lower leg, on August 5.
Striker Ansu Fati, 16, has also been included in the squad and may make his Champions League debut after two goals in three appearances.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard enjoys a light moment during a training session