CHELSEA MIDFIELDER Frank Lampard feels winning the Champions League against Bayern Munich on Saturday would be the club’s greatest achievement.
The Blues have never lifted Europe’s premier trophy in their 107-year history and must attempt to win it at their opponent’s home ground with several key players missing — John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles are all out suspended.
“For Chelsea it would be the greatest achievement for sure. We have four players out who have been some of our best performers of the season,” Lampard told reporters.
“But I think every step has been a huge achievement, the Barcelona game and the turnaround from Napoli. It would certainly be Chelsea’s best ever feat.
“John is obviously the captain and a top defender but we’re fortunate that in Gary (Cahill) and David (Luiz) looking like they are going to be fit, we have good cover. We have to be on our game to stop them but I have confidence in the players to do it.”
Interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has overseen a remarkable turnaround since taking the reins from the sacked Andre Villas-Boas in March, leading his side to FA Cup glory and Saturday’s European showpiece. And Lampard believes the Italian’s first game in charge, against Napoli, marked the turning point of the season – as Chelsea overcame a 3-1 first-leg deficit to win 5-4 on aggregate in the round of 16.
“We were struggling, you wouldn’t have looked ahead of yourselves and seen this. You’re experienced enough to know things can change; but on that night I don’t think any of us thought it,” he said. ”We were despondent in the dressing room afterwards (the first leg) and it took a big effort in the weeks between the games to turn the things around. The home game was a massive turning point in our season; in fact the major turning point in our season.”
The 33-year-old was keen to praise the culture of German football ahead of the clash with the country’s most decorated and iconic club.
“I grew up being frustrated by them as an England fan,” Lampard said. ”I worked with Michael Ballack closely and he was one of those players who you could probably take the wrong way in the beginning; but he was so determined, confident and wanted to win.
“I think that’s just a trait. The German teams I have played against all seem to have that individually. That’s why they will be such a force at the Euros as well this summer.
“They are very technically intelligent. Maybe it’s the set up and the system they have with the young kids there. We talk about England and what we need to do; the Spanish have shown it, the French have shown it and the Germans with their Under-21s they have had recently,” he added.