Two goals from Serge Gnabry helped Bayern Munich overcome Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg, as the visitors avenged 2012 woes.
Neither side had faced one another in the competition since the 2012 final leaving the fixture much to be desired.
The first half remained goalless after several opportunities went begging, however, after just six minutes into the second half, Gnabry opened the scoring. Three seemed to be the magic number for the Bundesliga champions, as three minutes later the former Arsenal man doubled their lead.
Chelsea began to feel the prospect of qualification into the next round slip between their fingers before Robert Lewandoski rubbed salt in the wounds to make it three.
Bayern possessed greater quality
Bayern have been classed as one of the elite sides in Europe, a classification the Blues once had and remains to be retained. The German side showed their class and quality in attack, defence and off the bench.
The Blues competed well in the opening 45 minutes, however, Bayern soon got the better. The likes of Kingsley Coman and Gnabry on either flank proved to far superior than the Blues’ Ross Barkley and Mason Mount.
Olivier Giroud, a striker in good form for Chelsea of late, was starved of service and failed to cohesively link up play with his midfielders. A contrast to striker Lewandoski who turned provider on two occasions.
Later into the game, the difference in quality off the bench was evident with the likes of Phillipe Coutinho, Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka brought into play by the visitors. This compared to Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, Willian and Pedro demonstrates the benchmark the Blues must reach if they wish to delve deeper into the latter stages.
Nevertheless, Frank Lampard set the Blues up as best as possible with a clear game plan that may well prove to become increasingly successful in years to come once he is given a number of transfer windows.
Failure to take chances at the highest level
Although the Blues did not create an astounding number of chances, opportunities to score did arise. Throughout the game, a series of good crosses were played across a vacant six-yard box as well as a 3 vs 2 which led to Abraham pondering and getting dispossessed.
This is not a new issue for Lampard’s side. In fact, a common theme this season which has been frequently addressed.
Alphonso Davies caused problems all evening
The Canadian left-winger turned left-back who is just 19 years old showcased his pace, technical ability and tactical know-how all evening.
Alphonso Davies caused a number of problems against the Blues, before eventually claiming an assist for Lewandoski’s goal – staggering similarities to Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson.
Significance of the result
Bayern return and welcome Chelsea back to the Allianz Arena for the second leg with three away goals. A tough mountain to climb for Lampard’s men.
The return leg will be a monumental fixture for Chelsea who will be returning to Champions League winning soil. A psychological factor that could be fuel to Chelsea’s engine.
Jorginho was also booked meaning he will miss the second leg. A hugely influential player that will be missed dearly by the Blues.
Marcos Alonso was shown a red card, meaning he will also miss the second leg. This could prove to be a blessing in disguise with Emerson likely to return – a faster, more potent option on the left.