Chelsea hope misfiring Werner can deliver when needed

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 5 May 2021

Chelsea welcome Real Madrid to Stamford Bridge tomorrow (HK time) still with much to do to reach the Champions League final after failing to land the killer blow when the Spanish giants were on the ropes in the first leg.

A 1-1 draw in Madrid still gives the Blues the upper hand thanks to their away goal, but Thomas Tuchel's men could have had a much more convincing advantage.

In a story of his first season at Chelsea, Timo Werner, pictured, missed a glorious chance to put his side in front early as the outstretched leg of Madrid 'keeper Thibaut Courtois denied his old club.

At the other end, after Christian Pulisic had put Chelsea in front, Karim Benzema needed barely a half-chance to blast Real back on level terms with his 28th goal of the season. That sort of number is what Chelsea expected when they paid 47 million (HK$506.36 million) for Werner last June at a time when other clubs were scrambling to find the money just to pay their players as the coronavirus pandemic halted football.

Chelsea were the club least deterred by the pandemic as they splashed out a total of 220 million in the transfer market last summer. Yet, none of the attacking trio of new signings - Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech - have consistently shown their best form.

But Tuchel remains confident that Werner can deliver. "In any transfer, there are risks of adaptations ... It needs time," Tuchel said. "That's why there is no rush and no panic."

- Jose Mourinho will take over as coach of Roma on a three-year deal from next season, replacing fellow Portuguese Paulo Fonseca.

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