Chelsea and Lyon go head to head in west London this week in the crunch second leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final tie.
The Blues opened up a narrow 1-0 aggregate lead in the first meeting thanks to a sumptuous curling finish from Guro Reiten. But the teams have responded to that result in different ways.
Chelsea were pegged back in the WSL title race by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, a second loss this month after Arsenal beat them in the Conti Cup final.
Lyon, meanwhile, took their frustration out on Guingamp in a 6-0 demolition that should at least restore some confidence even if it was a game they were always expected to win comfortably.
Millie Bright didn’t train on Wednesday but hasn’t yet been ruled out of this one, having come off injured in the first half of the first leg with a minor knee injury. She missed the weekend defeat in Manchester but has been included in next month’s England squad.
Chelsea remain without Fran Kirby, whose fitness troubles are a ‘concern’ for England boss Sarina Wiegman just a few months out from the World Cup. Pernille Harder is also still out but not far off a potential return, while Katerina Svitkova is another confirmed absentee.
Amel Majri started her first game since recovering from injury at the weekend, while Ada Hegerberg managed 20 minutes off the bench and scored in that game and could get more opportunity here – she was an unused substitute in the first leg at the Groupama Stadium.
The absence of Amandine Henry in recent weeks has been a blow just when the injury crisis that has ravaged the squad this season has been vastly improving.
Even with some setbacks this month alone, Chelsea have equally shown in recent weeks how they are capable of simply getting a job done when it really comes down to it. The Blues executed a perfect gameplan against Manchester United in the WSL and again at Lyon last week.
As long as Chelsea avoid defeat, they will reach the Champions League semi-finals for the fourth time in the space of six seasons. Even with last season’s title under their belt, Lyon are not the force they once were at this level – the rest of Europe has finally caught up.