Chelsea faces brutal exposure in the Champions League
Chelsea stepped into the rarefied atmosphere of the Champions League and their campaign is over after they were brutally outclassed by Bayern Munich in the last-16 first-leg tie.
Serge Gnabry fired two goals in four minutes to award Chelsea a Champions League mountain to climb as Bayern stung the 10-man Blues 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Former Arsenal youngster, Gnabry and arch finisher Robert Lewandowski twice punished Chelsea with deadly one-two combinations to secure a comprehensive win in West London.
Bayern boss, Hansi Flick declared Poland hitman Lewandowski to be “in the form of his life” in the build-up to this last-16 first leg. The 31-year-old duly tapped home a third for the rampant Bavarians.
Chelsea’s miserable night was compounded by a red card for Marcos Alonso. The player was dismissed after VAR review ruled, he had whacked Lewandowski in the face.
Chelsea’s lack of class exposed
Chelsea may have over-stretched themselves by getting out of a group containing Valencia and Ajax. This was, however, a step too far.
The warning signs flashed almost from the kick-off as Bayern sliced them apart. Somehow, the Blues survived the first half intact. But the threats from the likes of Gnabry, Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman were evident.
It was no surprise when Bayern opened up Chelsea with precision for three second-half goals. Lampard’s side simply had no answer in any area of the pitch.
When Chelsea had half-chances, they could not convert them. When dangerous balls flew across the face of goal, there was no-one on the end of them.
Chelsea looked a well-beaten side once the deadlock was broken by Gnabry six minutes after the break. If there was any consolation, it is that the damage could have been a lot worse.
Bayern showcase their high quality
Bayern was comfortably overcome 3-1 by Liverpool in the second leg of the last-16 meeting at home last season. They looked a tired side of rejuvenation.
While it is hard to take an accurate measure of how good they are, this was still mightily impressive.
Lewandowski is a world-class talent completely at home at this level while Gnabry is approaching maturity. Thomas Miller, who looked past his best looks re-born.
In the 19-year-old Alphonso Davies, Bayern has a glorious young talent who has it all. Raiding from left-back with pace, composure and end product.
Bayern has a love affair with the Champions League and they are in the rekindling process.