Jovic and Pedro set up exciting second leg after score draw
The two teams could not be separated in Germany after an exciting and fairly even game where both teams enjoyed good spells of being on top. Chelsea edged it on points and have the slight advantage going into the return, but both teams will fancy their chances after a 1-1 draw between Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea. The hosts, who came into this game unbeaten in their last 11 home games in Europe, continued that run and showed that eliminating Shakhtar, Inter Milan and Benfica was no fluke.
The goalies remained untroubled in the first 15 minutes, but Frankfurt though started the better. The first good opportunity came in the 8th minute when Jovic and Kostic teamed up, the former then turned inside the area looking for a gap to emerge before passing back to Kostic whose cross to Da Costa, who looked sharp down Chelsea's left, was disappointing. Five minutes later, Kostic tried to volley a Da Costa cross into the box, but he could not connect.
Then Kepa started to be tested. Da Costa once again targeted the far side and fed Kostic who saw his shot blocked with 16 on the clok and two minutes later, Kostic's ball in beat a few defenders, Rode and Gacinovic played quick pass and move footie before Da Costa fired straight at Kepa. The captain Abraham then fired over the crossbar after a Kostic free-kick took a couple of deflections and broke to him, Halfway through the first half, Frankfurt finally got their reward.
Chelsea stupidly lost possession in their own half and the Germans punished them on the counter. After a couple of passes, Jovic broke down the middle, he passed to Kostic on the near side before his excellent cross was brilliantly headed in by his compatriot into Kepa's bottom left hand corner. It was a magnificent move and there was a shock on the cards. Kostic tried again a couple of minutes later after passing to himself to beat Azpilicueta before being dispossessed by Christensen. After that though, Sarri's side woke up.
Pedro fired wide of the post in the 27th minute and then Loftus-Cheek made a superb run before combining with Willian a few minutes later to set up a great chance, but Hasebe tackled him and it went for a corner. Willian then had another pop and Chelsea dominated the rest of the half. Giroud laid it off to Loftus-Cheek inside the area in the 41st minute, but Hinteregger made a timely intervention to clear. Then Loftus Cheek's shot from the edge of the area shaved Kevin Trapp's right hand post after he cut inside.
When it looked like Frankfurt would lead going into half-time, Chelsea levelled. A corner, which Willian won, was put in by Willian himself and half-cleared by Falette, Christensen then chested it down to Loftus-Cheek who found Pedro and the Spaniard beat Trapp to his left to level the scores. The goal was coming and that strike seemed to give the away side momentum going into the second period.
The half started with a nasty clash of heads between Rode and Jorginho, but Chelsea took charge after that. Loftus-Cheek ran down the middle of the field in the 54th minutea and turned past a defender before playing one-two with Pedro. The Englishman then saw his strike flick the top of the bar and go over. Willian then hit at Trapp a couple of minutes later from inside the D after combining with Loftus-Cheek. David Luiz also struck the crossbar with his free-kick from 25 yards out just before the hour mark. Chelsea were dominating.
Eden Hazard replaced Willian just after the hour mark, but he was unable to be influential in his 30 minutes on the field. Chelsea continued to attack and Giroud wanted a penalty because he felt he was hauled down in the box as he had his back to goal and was trying to turn. The defender did pull him, but it seemed like Giroud was already on his way down.
The game then went into a lull before Loftus-Cheek tested Trapp in the 74th minute after being fed by Kante, but the German made a brilliant save. Hazard then tried to hit home the rebound, but he saw it blocked. Luiz then headed a Hazard free-kick straight at the goalkeeper three minutes later. Chelsea were unable to score when they were on top and Frankfurt finished strongly in the last 15 minutes.
The home team's clearest opportunity came in the 81st minute after Da Costa beat David Luiz down the flank and Paciencia was unable to get his toe on it at the far stick. The linesman's flag had been raised, but it was very tight. Abraham headed over a Rode corner at the far post when he should have hit the target five minutes from time and then they nearly took advantage of a defensive calamity at the back. Frankfurt were unable to score though and Chelsea's final attacks came to nothing so it is all to play for next week in West London.