Chelsea met Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since their historic in the final of the competition nearly eight years ago. On that occasion, they had held on through a flurry of the Bavarians' attacks inside the latter's home stadium to win their first-ever Champion League title.
The Premier League side was asked to invoke the 'spirit of Munich' once again, with the Germans considered the firm favourites for the tie. However, the Blues could not produce magic this time around and ended up losing by three goals to nil.
It was the former Arsenal man, Serge Gnabry, who came up with the telling moments of the match as he scored Bayern's opening two goals in the space of three minutes. The German side had been thwarted for fifty minutes by the Chelsea defence, however, they kept on coming and were rewarded accordingly. Robert Lewandowski put the game, and perhaps the tie, to bed in the 76th minute, when he scored his eleventh Champions League goal of the season.
We take a look at the three key moments which ended up shaping the match.
#1 Thomas Muller rattles the crossbar
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich had plenty of action early on, with both teams coming close to scoring in the first half-hour. All the early proceedings eventually culminated in Thomas Muller crashing his header onto the crossbar.
Frank Lampard had set his side in a 3-4-3 formation, deploying the same system and the personnel from a narrow win over Tottenham just days ago. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, featured a four-pronged attack with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman out wide, Robert Lewandowski in the middle, and Thomas Muller playing off him.
The two former champions went back-and-forth at each other in the opening half-hour of the competition, with Chelsea first going close through a Mason Mount pullback which narrowly evaded an outstretched Olivier Giroud. Moments later, Bayern had the ball at the other end and Serge Gnabry's in-swinging cross was smashed onto the crossbar by an unmarked Thomas Muller.
#2 Serge Gnabry opens the scoring
While Chelsea did on occasions take the game to Bayern Munich, the latter were by far the more dominant side for much of the game. The German outfit had come close to opening the scoring in the first half but were denied by a combination of Willy Caballero and his goalpost.
However, Chelsea's resilience broke early in the second half, when former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry put his side into the lead. The German international had a bit of luck on his side to control the ball initially, with Cesar Azpilicueta's slip allowing him to run into a dangerous area. He passed the ball to Robert Lewandowski from there, who returned the favour moments later for Gnabry to poke home the opener.
With the floodgates now open, Gnabry made it 2-0 to Bayern just minutes later. Once again, the winger combined with Lewandowski, who sent him through into the box with a measured pass. He raced onto the loose ball before placing it into the corner via a good finish.
#3 Robert Lewandowski closes the tie
While Frank Lampard would have been pleased with Chelsea's first-half performance, the same cannot be said for the second half. The Blues suffered a thrashing at the hands of their opponents and are now destined to go out of the competition. Serge Gnabry scored twice early on in the half, before Robert Lewandowski sealed the win late on.
The veteran forward had Alphonso Davies to thank for his customary goal, with the Canadian youngster producing a fine assist. Bayern's makeshift left-back, who had been superb all night, collected the ball just inside Chelsea's half, evaded challenges from Jorginho, Reece James, and Andreas Christensen, before laying it on a plate for the Poland international. Lewandowski, for his part, had an empty goal to tap into.
While one cannot take anything for granted in the Champions League, Bayern's qualification into the quarter-finals is all but certain. The German side will take a big lead with them to Munich for the second leg, boosted by the away goal rule. Furthermore, Chelsea will be missing both Jorginho and Marcos Alonso through suspensions and will need nothing short of a miracle to make it through.Published 26 Feb 2020, 04:53 IST