A man who played in midfield for both clubs thinks the German champions have the upper hand heading into a huge last-16 tie later this month
Bayern Munich should be considered favourites in their Champions League clash against Chelsea, according to Michael Ballack, who feels Frank Lampard’s lack of managerial experience will count against his side.
Chelsea will host Bayern in the first leg of their last-16 tie on February 25, with the reverse fixture at Allianz Arena set to take place three weeks later.
Lampard has also managed to guide Chelsea into the Premier League’s top four since replacing Maurizio Sarri in the hot seat last summer, but the team has fallen 33 points behind leaders Liverpool after 25 fixtures amid an inconsistent run of results.
Bayern, meanwhile, secured six wins out of six to progress to the next round of the Champions League as Group B winners, with a 7-2 victory away at Tottenham serving as an empathic display of intent.
The reigning Bundesliga champions are also on course to retain their domestic crown, but the European Cup remains their ultimate goal after seven years of disappointment in the competition.
Ballack, who enjoyed successful spells at both Chelsea and Bayern during his career, believes the German outfit have a “big advantage” heading into their trip to Stamford Bridge after coming through a difficult Autumn period which saw head coach Niko Kovac sacked.
“Bayern are favourites, for many reasons,” Ballack said. “Experience speaks strongly in their favour.
“Chelsea’s transfer ban has compelled them to put their faith in young players. Their manager is new and inexperienced in his job, and that is a big advantage for Bayern.
“The performance levels of Bayern’s players are another plus for them. They are more stable than they were last autumn.”
The former Germany international did, however, admit that Lampard has a lot of potential within his ranks at Chelsea, with the rise to prominence of a number of academy stars holding them in good stead to challenge Bayern for a place in the last eight of the Champions League.
“Chelsea have a young team, which has the potential to explode,” Ballack added. “They have mostly young players, a bit like Borussia Dortmund.”
The Blues will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Manchester United to the Bridge on Monday, while Bayern are currently preparing for a meeting with Paderborn at Allianz Arena on Friday.