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Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich
by Amar Azam
at Stamford Bridge
THIS was a display of ruthless opportunism from the German giants and a reminder for Chelsea’s supporters of how far off Europe’s elite their side have drifted.
In truth, Frank Lampard’s men rarely challenged their opponents Bayern Munich and though many would argue that the margin reflected unfairly on Chelsea, few would suggest that the home side deserved anything from this match.
Goals from Serge Gnabry, who scored two in three minutes, and Robert Lewandowski have left Bayern in control of the tie.
“Sometimes you have to be brutally honest about it and they outclassed us,” said Lampard. “It’s quite sobering.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t have done better against them, but it’s a real reality check for everyone individually in the dressing room.
“The levels of Bayern Munich were fantastic. They are a really strong team and unless we were to get everything right and bang on, it was going to be a tough night potentially.”
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich’s commanding second half display underlined their credentials as one of the favourites for the Champions League.
Chelsea were reduced to 10 men late on when Marcos Alonso received a second yellow card for a clash with Lewandowski.
Both he and Jorginho miss out on the return leg.
The Brazilian midfielder picked up a second yellow card in the competition, which means that he too misses out on the trip to Germany in three weeks. Chelsea are already missing N’golo Kante through injury.
Hansi Flick’s men threatened on a number of occasions in a first half in which offered Chelsea little fight. From the moment that the visitors came out after the interval, however, the whole complexion of the match changed.
When former Arsenal man Gnabry opened the scoring on 51 minutes, Chelsea looked on the back foot. Just three minutes later, and with the hosts’ defence still recovering, he scored another as the five-times winners of Europe’s premier competition took control of the tie.
Credit must go to the brilliant Lewandowski, who played a pivotal role in the goals. The Polish striker scored his own on 76 minutes, completing a sweeping attacking move.
There were a number of stand-out performances from Bayern’s team. Gnabry, who had scored four in his side’s 7-2 rout at Tottenham in the group stages, was in fine form. Full-back Alphonso Davies, however, was superb and played a massive part in the performance from the German side.
Flick said: “Of course it was a really good result for us. The team performed exactly as we had planned. We were very concentrated, very focused to the way we played, and that’s the reason why we could win 3-0.”
To further highlight Chelsea’s woes, this defeat now means they have lost eight times at home this season in all competitions, the highest number since the 1985-86 season.
Chelsea, fourth in the Premier League, came into the match having beaten London rivals Tottenham. However, against a side flying high in the Bundesliga, and on a record of 10 wins in their last 11 matches, there was no way back for Lampard’s men.
Lampard added: “We have to go to Munich and play with a lot of pride, to see what we can do there. But today was a clear show that there is a lot of work to be done. I felt that when I took the job, I have felt that all the way through, and I feel that today.”
The return tie is on 10 March at the Allianz Arena, the stadium where Chelsea famously overcame Bayern to win the Champions League final in penalties in 2012.
Lampard takes his men to Bournemouth on Saturday hoping to keep up their claim for a top-four finish.
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