‘He will score!’ Joao Felix backs ‘amazing’ Kai Havertz to lead Chelsea fightback in Champions League
Kai Havertz has been backed by Joao Felix to rediscover his scoring touch and help lead a Chelsea fightback against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League tonight.
Havertz has managed just two goals since the World Cup and has gone seven games without finding the net, a run stretching back almost two months and spanning 582 minutes of football.
But Felix is confident the German will recapture his form, starting against Dortmund. Chelsea are trailing 1-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie and tonight’s game at Stamford Bridge could have a bearing on the future of Graham Potter.
Failure to progress in Europe would increase the pressure on the head coach and, with Chelsea 10th in the Premier League, all-but end their hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.
Havertz scored the winner for Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League final and Potter is set to keep faith with a player who has stepped up on the big occasions before.
“Kai is an amazing player, everyone knows who he is and what he has done for the club,” said Felix. “In football, sometimes you are on a streak to score every game and then every time you don’t score, but you just have to keep working.
“Kai is a really good guy, he never stops working, he is always searching to be better and he will score.”
Goodwill towards Havertz from supporters following his Champions League heroics two years ago is quickly wearing off, with the 23-year-old being used a central striker but failing to help a blunt Chelsea attack that has managed just two goals in seven games.
Havertz missed a golden chance in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Leeds when he went one-on-one with goalkeeper Illan Meslier, but he has linked up well with Felix at times.
Felix is sure goals will come for Chelsea tonight as they target a place in the quarter-finals.
“For me and the strikers, it’s always frustrating to see our team not scoring, but that is football — sometimes you shoot 10 times and you don’t score and sometimes you shoot once and you score two,” said the on-loan Atletico Madrid forward.
“We just have to live with that, keep working, keep pushing and for sure the goals will appear.”
Dortmund arrived in London on a 10-game winning run and, led by England star Jude Bellingham, have a 100 per cent record since the World Cup.
Edin Terzic’s side are challenging Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title, but captain Marco Reus is wary of the threat of a Chelsea side playing what he says is their “match of the season”.
Reus said: “People know that Chelsea are not in a good moment, but in the first leg they played well and our victory wasn’t easy.
“Now for Chelsea, this match will be key, it is their match of the season, and that means we can expect an enormous and significant amount of pressure from the first minute.
“I expect a very hard match in London and while our advantage is small, it at least permits us to manage the situation. We are in a good moment and that is positive, although nobody thinks we can go to England and be calm.”
Chelsea’s win over Leeds lifted the mood, but the Blues were far from convincing in a jittery display and it is likely they will need to improve to produce a comeback tonight.
Potter said: “Like everybody connected to Chelsea, your mood is a bit better when you win. You are a little bit happier, but the good thing and bad thing about the job is that there is another game pretty quickly. It’s a massive game and one we need to be ready for.”