Leeds travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Saturday evening, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side hoping to continue their impressive start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
Following promotion from the Championship last season, the Yorkshire club currently sit 12th in the top-flight ahead of this weekend’s fixtures, having picked up impressive wins against Everton, Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Fulham in their opening 10 games of the new season.
Although they won superbly at Goodison Park in their last fixture, the Whites are in for another tough game on Saturday, considering Frank Lampard’s side have lost just once in the top-flight so far this season.
However, Bielsa’s side could give themselves a great chance if they can keep German striker Timo Werner quiet on Saturday evening, with his international teammate Robin Koch likely to be key in whether or not Leeds can take anything from the game.
Since joining from RB Leipzig in the summer, Werner has contributed eight goals in all competitions for the Blues, including four goals in the top-flight.
He has averaged a strong 7.23 rating for his performances in the Premier League so far this season, which ranks him as Chelsea’s joint-third best performer so far this campaign, behind defenders Ben Chilwell and Kurt Zouma (per WhoScored).
Therefore, it would definitely be fair to mark him out as Chelsea’s danger man ahead of the game against Leeds, suggesting that Bielsa’s defence are in for a very tricky game.
However, they have the edge of having Robin Koch, who will know Werner well from his time with the international side, something which the 24-year-old may need to use to his advantage at Stamford Bridge.
He also faced Werner four times in the Bundesliga during his Freiburg career and has been on the winning side three times, with the other game finishing 1-1, which definitely suggests that he was able to get the better of him during the striker’s time at RB Leipzig.
Koch will certainly have to be wary of Werner’s pace on Saturday but if he can play to his strengths, which include his ability to win aerial duels and make interceptions, then he may be able to limit the Chelsea man’s influence on the game.
The German defender won a lot of praise from former Leeds striker Tony Dorigo earlier in the season, as he said:
“One player in particular for me I like to mention is Robin Koch. Again, he is growing every single game.
“I thought he was outstanding once again [against Manchester City]. He is the rock in central defence.” (per Inside Futbol)
Therefore, if Koch can produce another outstanding display, similar to ones he has produced at times this season, then Leeds may be able to keep Werner out of the game, which would surely give them a much better chance of picking up three points against Lampard’s side.