One win since the turn of the year despite more than £600million spent on transfer fees, languishing in 10th place in the Premier League table and a coach appointed in September who already looks under pressure … the first half of Chelsea’s season has been nothing short of a disaster.

The 1-1 draw at West Ham on Saturday means Graham Potter’s side have claimed just one win from their previous seven Premier League matches.


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The West Ham result was understandably overshadowed by an inexplicable officiating error which permitted Hammers midfielder Tomas Souceck to handle inside his own area to block a goal-bound effort from Conor Gallagher without repercussion.

But even that error from the VAR officials in Stockley Park fails to explain just why Chelsea have faltered so badly this season, the first under the co-ownership of Todd Boehly.

Yet while Chelsea sit 10 points off the last remaining Champions League qualification spot and are out of the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, there is one slither of hope that keeps their campaign very much alive.

Chelsea resume their Champions League campaign with a last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund this week with the first leg taking place in Germany on Wednesday night and it looks to be a win-or-bust scenario for their 2022/23 season.

Enzo Fernandez
Despite spending £600m, Chelsea sit 10th in the Premier League table

And ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole believes it represents a huge chance for his former side to salvage something from an otherwise wretched campaign.

“The Champions League is an opportunity for anyone as it’s knockout football,” Cole told in an exclusive interview. “They are one of 10 teams who could win it and on a one-off night they have the quality to beat anyone.”

Chelsea’s first Champions League win came back in 2012 when caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo led them to victory as underdogs, defeating Barcelona in the semi-finals and Bayern Munich in the final despite being dominated in both fixtures.

Di Matteo’s Chelsea finished sixth in the league that season and even in Chelsea’s second Champions League success in 2021 they would finish fourth, 19 points off champions Man City - the team they defeated in the final.

Roberto Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo led Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012

And Cole believes these wins serve as an example of how the strongest team in the competition do not always lift Europe’s most coveted trophy.

“We’ve seen teams who are not necessarily challenging in their league get to the final or win it – Chelsea themselves have done it before,” Cole said. “You just have to be the best on the night.”

They face a Dortmund side who are challenging for the Bundesliga title domestically and who finished second in Group G to Man City to qualify for the knockout stages.

Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund finished second behind Manchester City to qualify for the knockouts

Much of the focus from our shores on Dortmund has been on the outstanding Jude Bellingham in Dortmund’s midfield after the former Birmingham City man performed brilliantly at the Qatar 2022 World Cup for England.

Bellingham is the latest in a line of young players who’ve moved to Dortmund as a youngster and developed into world class talents. And like Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, many expect Bellingham to make a big-money move away from Germany in the summer.

Cole feels the 19-year-old is just one of the threats Dortmund will offer though. “With Bellingham, Marco Reus and Sebastien Haller back, I’d include Dortmund in the list of teams who could win the Champions League,” the BT Sport pundit added.

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham is one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe.

“Any team in Germany that’s below Bayern Munich has got a lot of quality – it’s the same with RB Leipzig – but also a lot of energy to their game.

“Dortmund have got a regimented style and it’s why it’s great for so many players to go over and learn from their way of playing… They’ve got enough quality in the team to hurt anyone so it’s going to be a tough game for Chelsea.”

You can watch Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea exclusively live on BT Sport this Wednesday evening with coverage starting at 7pm on BT Sport 1 & Ultimate.