Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has admitted beating German club Bayern Munich to the 2011/12 Champions League trophy on 19 May would be the Blues' greatest achievement till date.
The club has never before managed to win the Champions League (or its earlier equivalents) in its 107 year history. The closest they ever came was another appearance in the final, in 2008 when they lost to Manchester United on penalties.
"For Chelsea it would be the greatest achievement for sure. We have four players out who have been some of our best performers of the season. But I think every step has been a huge achievement, the Barcelona game and the turnaround from Napoli. It would certainly be Chelsea's best ever feat," Goal.com reported Lampard as saying.
Chelsea's Champions League campaign looked to be over after they lost 1-3, away from home, to Napoli in the first leg of their Round of 16 game. However, manager Andre Villas-Boas was sacked soon after and, against all odds, interim boss Roberto Di Matteo guided the club past Napoli (he oversaw a 4-1 win at Stamford Bridge in the return leg against Napoli), past Portuguese side Benfica and, famously, past defending champions Barcelona to book a date with Bayern in Munich.
"We were struggling, you wouldn't have looked ahead of yourselves and seen this. You're experienced enough to know things can change; but on that night I don't think any of us thought it," The Sun quoted Lampard as saying. The midfielder has top scored for the club this season so far, with 16 goals in all competitions and also took time to praise the overall quality of German football.
"I grew up being frustrated by them as an England fan. I worked with Michael Ballack closely and he was one of those players who you could probably take the wrong way in the beginning; but he was so determined, confident and wanted to win," the Guardian quoted Lampard as saying, and adding, "I think that's just a trait. The German teams I have played against all seem to have that individually. That's why they will be such a force at the Euros as well this summer."
Meanwhile, the Blues will miss key players for Saturday's game, with defenders John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic and midfielder Ramires all suspended. However, the good news is that defenders David Luiz and Gary Cahill will be available for this important encounter.
"John [Terry] is obviously the captain and a top defender but we're fortunate that in Gary [Cahill] and David [Luiz] looking like they are going to be fit, we have good cover. We have to be on our game to stop them but I have confidence in the players to do it," Lampard added, according to Goal.com.