Thomas Muller thinks his Bayern Munich team have nothing to fear from Chelsea, saying the Premier League side are not currently among Europe’s elite.
The attacker is hopeful the German side can get some revenge for their defeat in the 2012 Champions League final to the same opposition when the two teams meet in the last 16 of the competition.
Remarkably it will be the 30-year-old’s first visit to Chelsea’s west London home, despite a career that has taken in more than a century of Champions League appearances.
“You’d think you would have seen all the great European stadiums after more than 100 Champions League games, but I have never played at Stamford Bridge and I’m really looking forward it,” Muller told The Athletic.
“Chelsea have young, talented players and a quality team that can really hurt you. We need to be well-prepared for their particular strengths.
“But they’re not the best team in Europe right now and we don’t need to be afraid. I’m confident.”
One of Muller’s opponents in that 2012 final was current Blues manager Frank Lampard.
The former Germany international says he admired the Englishman as a player, and saw many similarities between their games.
“Not from that game but he was a super player,” Muller added when asked if he remembered playing against him in 2012.
“He played practical football. Technically very good, super shooting technique, super with long balls — a midfielder who could work and be dangerous in front of goal at the same time.
“He simply knew: these are the things you need to do to win football matches. He was a player I can really relate to.”
Muller opened the scoring in that game, in the 83rd minute, only to see Didier Drogba equalise five minutes later.
Chelsea went on to win on penalties, but Muller remembers his goal fondly and says that winning the trophy the next season softened the blow of defeat.
“It was the most electrifying moment of my life,” he remembered. “It was unbelievable. There’s a difference between scoring a goal and scoring a decisive goal.
“That goal was salvation, a huge release. The whole stadium exploded. Everyone had waited for us get the ball into the net for the entire game.
“It wasn’t the most beautiful of goals but the moment itself was unforgettable.
“The fact that we won the trophy in 2013 has lessened the pain. 2012 was a big reason we won it in 2013.”