Ahead of this weekend’s game with Manchester City, the Germany international has weighed in on who proved the biggest test en route to Porto
Kai Havertz feels Atletico Madrid and Porto were the toughest opponents Chelsea faced on their run to the Champions League final, selecting the pair over perennial heavyweights Real Madrid.
The Blues will compete against Manchester City for the biggest prize in European club football in Porto on Saturday, in what will be the second all-English affair in three years.
Having come through the group stage unbeaten under Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel subsequently guided Chelsea through a trio of two-legged encounters to reach the showpiece game – but Havertz says that Zinedine Zidane’s side made for his favourite game rather than his team’s most difficult encounter.
What has been said?
“Porto and Atletico were difficult to play because of their defensive strengths,” Havertz told Chelsea’s website. “They set themselves up in their own halves and wait for you to make a mistake.
“For me, those were the most difficult games. My favourite game would be the second leg against Real Madrid when we reached the final. That was good.
“There’s been a few good games, but for me the highlight would have to be the game against Real.”
Havertz calls for “fun” final
The Germany international further hailed Tuchel – who reached last season’s final with Paris Saint-Germain – through the growth in the team’s confidence during their run to the final, which was originally meant to be played in Istanbul.
“We’ve picked up a lot of self-belief over the last few months from our good results and how we’ve played,” he added. “Self-belief is generally very important in football and ours has improved a lot, so it’s made a difference.
“It’s about giving your all in the game, having fun, and hopefully winning. Being in the tunnel, walking out, hearing the anthem, and then giving your all for over 90 minutes … it’s a childhood dream which has been reached but not yet fulfilled.
“We still need to win and we’ll do everything we can to do just that.”