With the fitness of Romelu Lukaku in doubt following his withdrawal from the Belgium squad ahead of their Nations League match against Italy on Sunday, the question turns to who could Thomas Tuchel replace his star striker with.
The 28-year-old was signed, predominantly because the Blues didn’t feel they had a No.9 who could consistently score and be the focal point of their attacks – though they did win the Champions League without him.
Much was made of the struggles Timo Werner had in his opening season at Stamford Bridge, particularly with some glaring misses and the German international’s regular misfortune with VAR.
Werner led the line for his national side as they overcame Romania 2-1 on Friday night but was unable to score, leading to questions from the press about whether Die Mannschaft have a traditional striker they can call upon.
Germany boss Hans Flick was quick to point out, despite having some areas of required improvement, the former RB Leipzig goal-getter has a number of crucial attributes for the position.
“What is a classic centre-forward? Timo is definitely capable of finding space in tight areas and he’s someone that is there to score rebounds or loose balls. He’s got an eye for that,” Flick told the DFB website.
“He, perhaps, isn’t always in the places you need him to be. He was too close to goal at certain points – he can do better and we expect him to. We will need to work on this in training.
“It was about creating space and going into depth again and again against a stable defence. He did very well.”
With Chelsea set to dominate possession against Brentford on their return to action after the international break, it could be that final sentence that proves crucial in how Werner will be tested against their fellow-west London side.
The Blues star also saw his penalty appeal judged to be a dive by VAR against Romania.
“We’re talking about a penalty that feels like it has been examined for five minutes. Then, it can’t be a wrong decision,” added Flick.
“When you’re on the move at this speed, the slightest touch is enough to get you out of step.”
Werner’s teammate Serge Gnabry added: “As a team, we are all behind Timo. Sometimes he was a little lacking in luck. He accelerates, hangs himself in, that is always the most important thing.”
Source by Football London