To say this season has been a disappointment for Timo Werner would be an understatement. The German arrived at Chelsea last summer with the expectation that he would score bags of goals. But, throughout the campaign, that golden form he showed at RB Leipzig has failed to materialise. Six Premier League goals represents a disappointing return; Werner now under huge pressure to produce the goods on a more consistent basis next season.
Of course, there is still a chance for Werner to come good in the biggest game of all. The Champions League final against Manchester City takes place at the end of the month. Chelsea defied the UEFA Champions League winner odds in making it this far. Now they are one game away from earning their second European Cup; denying Manchester City their maiden crown at the same time.
Timo Werner and the Champions League final
Playing in that kind of showpiece fixture is a dream for any striker. Werner will be relishing the opportunity of producing his best form in the final. He bagged an important goal in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid; nodding the ball home after Kai Havertz’s chip had hit the bar. That momentum could well give him the confidence to produce a stellar performance. So, Chelsea may be second favourites in the odds on the UEFA Champions League final, but Werner will be extra determined to make his mark.
The question is this. Would a match-winning display in the Champions League final make up for a season of underachievement and profligacy from Werner? A return of 12 goals in 48 appearances across all competitions is not good enough. Not least given the price Chelsea paid to bring Werner to Stamford Bridge. Often the fortunes of a striker can turn on one good performance, however. Or even just one goal.
We saw evidence of that in Divock Origi’s goals for Liverpool in their run to Champions League glory two years ago. The Belgian was largely seen as surplus to requirements at Anfield, and was likely to leave that summer. But after goals in the semi-final against Barcelona and the final against Tottenham Hotspur, he suddenly gained icon status at Anfield. It’s fair to say that Werner is a higher calibre of player than Origi. If he could notch an important goal in the final, his stock could rise significantly.
A new number nine at the Bridge this summer?
Rumours are rife that Chelsea are preparing to break the bank again this summer for a new number nine; the Blues apparently keen on bringing Borussia Dortmund ace Erling Braut Haland to west London. In many ways, Werner is fighting for his status as Chelsea’s main man in these final few weeks of the season. And it’s important that the German channels that pressure in the right way. At times this season he has looked like a man unsure of himself, as if blinded by the bright lights of the Premier League. You would expect that with experience he will become better suited to the English top flight. The reality is that clubs like Chelsea don’t hang around to wait for that to happen.
Timo Werner is in need of a turning point. He needs a momentous goal or piece of skill that endears himself fully to Chelsea supporters and makes him irreplaceable as their number nine. At a club where demands are so high, it may already be too late, but the prospect of Champions League glory could bring Werner the chance he needs to finally make his mark.