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Chelsea’s expensive recruits are facing the moment of truth in the Champions League

LONDON — Chelsea have one last chance to salvage their season as Borussia Dortmund visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday and defend a 1-0 first-leg lead.

Despite an all-time record single-season investment of over £500m ($603m) by the Blues’ new owners, Chelsea languish in 10th place in the Premier League and fell early in both domestic cups to Manchester City.

Graham Potter stopped the rot with a 1-0 win over Leeds on Saturday to end a six-game winless streak.

But the nature of the victory could not dispel doubts that Potter’s job could be at stake against the German giants.

Dortmund travel to London after a 10-game winning streak that has given Edin Terzic’s men a share of the Bundesliga lead alongside Bayern Munich.

Chelsea, on the other hand, look to Brentford, Brighton and Fulham after three wins in their last 16 games.

Scoring goals was the biggest problem for Potter’s men as their expensive new recruits were under pressure to start performing.

Champions League rules meant only three of Chelsea’s January signings could be registered for the knockout stages, with attacking trio of Enzo Fernandez, Joao Felix and Mykhailo Mudryk making the cut.

– Missing Mudryk –

Fernandez broke the UK transfer record when he joined from Benfica for £107m.

But the Argentinian world champions are yet to have the desired impact to provide a creative spark in midfield and were found underpowered by Karim Adeyemi’s stormy pace for Dortmund’s first-leg winners three weeks ago.

Chelsea spent £10million just to loan Felix out for the final months of the season but there will be little left to play if they can’t turn the tie around.

At the very least, unlike Mudryk, Potter has tended to use Fernandez and Felix when available.

Chelsea persuaded Arsenal to sign the Ukrainian from Shakhtar Donetsk for an initial €70m (£62m, $74m) that rose to €100m in surcharges.

But Mudryk has not started in the last three games and was an unused substitute against Leeds, despite Potter making all five available changes.

Chelsea scored a first goal in four games at the weekend, but it came from a defender in France centre-back Wesley Fofana, who fired in a corner.

“We need to attack better as a team,” Potter said. “That is my responsibility. It’s too easy to magnify and blame individuals. It’s a collective, we have to create more, do better, and that starts with me.

“Helping the team get better chances, more chances. I don’t doubt the quality of the players.”

Despite an injury-hit first season at Stamford Bridge, Raheem Sterling remains Chelsea’s top scorer this season with six goals in all competitions.

Sterling hasn’t scored since January 1 but Potter believes he could provide the spark his side need against Dortmund.

The England international scored 24 goals in 67 appearances for Manchester City in Europe’s premier club competition before making a £50million move last summer.

“His Champions League goals record speaks for itself,” added Potter.

“He’s a proven fighter in this competition. We’re really happy about that, we’re looking forward to having him on the pitch on Tuesday and hopefully enjoying his football.”

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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