Champions League Breakthrough: Chelsea face Ian Maatsen question after loanee excellent Champions League performance

Champions League breakthrough: Chelsea face Ian Maatsen question after loanee excellent Champions League performance

Chelsea’s overlooked starlet Ian Maatsen has been making waves at Borussia Dortmund, helping them secure a spot in the Champions League semi-finals – and his performance has led to questions over whether the Blues made the right decision loaning him out.

Maatsen, who is on loan at Dortmund until the end of the season, scored the crucial winning goal against Atletico Madrid in Tuesday’s quarter-final victory. The 22-year-old Dutch prodigy seems to be thriving in Germany, where Dortmund are known for nurturing young talent.

Before heading to the Bundesliga, Maatsen signed a new contract with Chelsea that keeps him at the club until 2026. It means his chances of breaking into the starting XI at Stamford Bridge are far from over, though the full-back managed under 400 minutes under Mauricio Pochettino in the first half of the season.

Maatsen himself appeared unsure about the reasons behind his lack of game time, commenting after the match against Atletico that he “always had the belief to play for Chelsea”.

His move to Dortmund was seen as an opportunity to prove himself, and he has certainly done so. His goal against Atletico Madrid, which put Dortmund one step closer to the Champions League final, likely caused some regret back in London.

Last season, Maatsen was a standout player at Burnley under Vincent Kompany’s management, helping the team secure the Championship title. However, upon returning to Chelsea he found game time hard to come by.

The young left-back was tipped for more opportunities at Stamford Bridge, particularly given the injury woes of fellow full-backs Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella. Pochettino had even suggested in December that Maatsen would play a bigger role in his squad.

However, less than a month later, Maatsen was transferred to Signal Iduna Park. Dortmund clearly didn’t share Pochettino’s reservations, as Maatsen quickly became a regular starter, making 17 appearances across all competitions without showing any signs of the struggles Pochettino had mentioned.

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