N’GOLO KANTE is reportedly set to return from injury for Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.
The first leg of the Blues’ European tie will take place in Germany on February 15, before the return leg three weeks later on March 7.
And Graham Potter‘s men are hoping Kante could be available for the away leg, although the return fixture is more realistic.
This is according to a report in L’Equipe, with Chelsea‘s midfield currently decimated by injuries.
Kante, 31, Denis Zakaria, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have all been plagued with fitness issues during the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, Jorginho has been out of favour since Potter took over from Thomas Tuchel.
And while Enzo Fernandez was linked with a January move from Benfica, that transfer now seems highly unlikely this month.
These selection problems have given Conor Gallagher an opportunity to start for Chelsea in recent weeks, although he has done little to establish himself as a long-term solution.
Now, though, Kante is closing in on a return at a crucial point of the season.
The France international has not featured since the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge back in August.
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But he could prove to be a key figure in Chelsea’s clash with Dortmund.
And being crowned European champions may be the team’s best way of qualifying for the competition next season.
Chelsea currently sit 10th in the Premier League table, 10 points adrift of Man Utd in fourth.
Meanwhile, the Blues are hopeful they will tie Kante down to a new deal.
The ex-Leicester midfielder is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.
But the West London outfit have “increasing confidence” around securing an extension.