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Europa League semi-finalists Chelsea “deserve” to win a trophy this season, says manager Maurizio Sarri.
The Blues, beaten on penalties by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, only need a goalless draw at home against Eintracht Frankfurt to reach the Europa League final.
The Germans went ahead in the first leg before Pedro equalised to make it 1-1 and give Chelsea a vital away goal.
Sarri will be without midfielder N’Golo Kante because of a hamstring injury.
Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday ensured they would finish inside the top four of the Premier League to guarantee a Champions League spot in 2019-20.
However, they still have the chance to win their first piece of silverware since Sarri replaced Antonio Conte as boss last summer.
They came close in February but lost 4-3 to City in a penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup final after it had finished 0-0 after extra time.
“I am delighted at achieving the club’s target of making the top four,” said Sarri.
“We want to reach the Europa League final and win it because we deserve a trophy this season.
“It’s not easy because we have to play a dangerous team as we saw in the first leg. They’re dynamic and aggressive and when they can find spaces, it’s a dangerous match.
“In a semi-final you have to play against a strong team with very strong players. It’s difficult to be the favourite in a semi-final.”
Kante’s absence means Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to start in midfield, while Eden Hazard is expected to play from the beginning after being a substitute in the first leg in Germany.
“As Chelsea, we want to win trophies so this is a massive opportunity for us. We won’t relax,” said Loftus-Cheek.
“It will feel different for me to win a trophy this season because I have helped the team so much in the Europa League campaign.
“This is the best spell of my Chelsea career in terms of games and goals.”
Eintracht Frankfurt will join Chelsea in next season’s Champions League if they win the Europa League.
However, they could still qualify via their league position if they finish in the top four of the Bundesliga, and they are fourth with two games to go, but level on points with fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
- All four of the previous teams to draw the first leg of a Europa League semi-final away from home went on to progress to the final, most recently Atletico Madrid against Arsenal last season.
- Chelsea have been eliminated on three of the last four occasions they’ve drawn the first leg of a European knockout tie away from home, including their most recent two (versus Paris St-Germain in the 2014-15 Champions League and versus Atletico in the 2013-14 Champions League).
- Chelsea could reach their first major European final since the 2013 Europa League, when they beat Benfica 2-1 under manager Rafael Benitez.
- Eintracht Frankfurt are looking to reach their first European final since the 1980 UEFA Cup, when they beat fellow German side Borussia Moenchengladbach on away goals over two legs.
- Chelsea have never lost a home game against German opponents in all competitions (won seven, drew two), keeping a clean sheet in seven of their nine such games.
- Eintracht Frankfurt have lost their last four away games against English sides by an aggregate score of 1-11. However, their last such game was at Spurs in 1982.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 Europa League games, the longest such run in the competition since it was rebranded in 2009-10.
- Eintracht have only lost one of their last eight away Europa League games (won five, drew two), though it was in the last round at Benfica. The German side have scored in all six of their games on the road in the competition this season.
- Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has scored 10 Europa League goals this season – the last player to score more for an English club in a season in a single major European competition (excluding qualifiers) was Alan Shearer in 2004-05 (11 in the UEFA Cup).
- Luka Jovic has scored nine goals in the Europa League this season – it’s the most goals scored by an Eintracht Frankfurt player in a campaign in a single major European competition.
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