Champions League: Serge Gnabry produces latest London masterclass as Bayern Munich crush Chelsea | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW


Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich
(Gnabry 51′ 54′, Lewandowski 76′)

Stamford Bridge, London

For some visitors to London, it’s a plastic model of Big Ben, a teddy bear dressed as a Buckingham Palace guard or a Union Jack t-shirt that’s flung in the suitcase on departure. But when Serge Gnabry leaves England’s capital, he takes only goals, wins and defenders’ dignity.

After scoring four in the group stage humiliation of Tottenham, Gnabry twice sliced through Chelsea to help Bayern to a richly-deserved 3-0 away win. The Bavarians have one foot in the quarterfinals and a measure of revenge for a certain night in Munich eight years ago.

That same year, Gnabry left Germany for London. Though Arsenal fans must now rue the fact he never quite made it here, they won’t hold too much against him given how he’s slayed two of their city rivals this season.

“I have a lot of friends here in London, perhaps they gave me a bit of power,” he said after the game, although he refused to reveal whether he’d be showing his teammates any of his favorite London haunts.

‘Our city, our stadium, our trophy’

Before Wednesday’s match, Chelsea set off fireworks from the stadium roof as commentary from their win over Bayern in the 2012 final played over the PA. As the teams came out, the home fans unfurled a huge banner mocking Bayern’s “Our city, our stadium, our trophy” display from that night, and belted out a chant about the time they “won it at yours.”

They could talk the talk, but it was Bayern who walked the walk. By the time Gnabry collected a return pass from Robert Lewandowski and guided his second in three minutes past Willy Caballero early in the second half, it was the traveling fans who were making all the noise, adopting “Football’s Coming Home” and another song in English that was far from complimentary about their hosts.

UEFA Champions League | FC Chelsea - Bayern München | 1. TOR Bayern (Reuters/E. Keogh)

Serge Gnabry is mobbed by his Bayern teammates after opening the scoring

While Chelsea’s limitations were laid bare, this was an exceptional away performance by the Bundesliga champions, with Gnabry the cutting edge of a machine that Hansi Flick was smart enough to re-oil rather than attempt to rebuild.

As if stung by the reminders of that traumatic night all those years ago, Thomas Müller, one of three Bayern survivors from that game, ran the show before the interval in London’s west end.

He set the Bayern band a furious early pace, dealing largely in first time passes – flicks, cushions, layoffs and through balls – the last of which, perfectly weighted, sent Kingsley Coman haring through in the 11th minute. The Frenchman screwed his shot wide.

Next it was Lewandowski who was teed up, only to be denied by Caballero. Then Müller took center stage, slipping a ball out wide before flicking an innovative backwards header onto the bar.

The killer blow

Though the opponent was softened up, Bayern had to wait for their kill. Almost from nowhere, the men in red shirts sprang back to life in the 51st minute. Gnabry, quiet until that point, exchanged passes with Lewandowski down the left before crashing home from close range. It was more than a warning but still the Premier League side failed to heed it.

The trick was repeated moments later for the second, with Gnabry making a difficult finish look easy before Alphonso Davies, again outstanding, rocketed down the left and pulled back for Lewandowski to extract his pound of flesh. Just as he did at Spurs. And in Freiburg. And on several other occasions.

Davies had a superb performance in London

Alphonso Davies celebrates with Robert Lewandowski after another superb performance

“The lad is blessed with a rapid sprint, the sort we’ve not had at Bayern for a long time,” Müller said of Davies, who was rightfully singled out by the traveling support at full-time. “He’s learnt a lot tactically since he’s been here, too. It was a world-class performance.”

Though the two goalscorers and Müller will hog the headlines, this was a near-flawless team performance from the Bavarians. The front three combined sensationally, David Alaba and Davies already look like seasoned veterans in positions they’d rarely played until this season, and Thiago and Joshua Kimmich won a physical battle in midfield.

‘Not perfect’

“Those who have watched us climb back to the top of the Bundesliga recently know that you can never write us off,” said Müller, looking ahead. “We feel good, but we know we have the necessary humility to keep working hard. We’re not perfect.”

They weren’t far from it on Wednesday. Bayern’s dominance meant Flick had the luxury of removing Gnabry late on. He won’t get another match ball to pack in that suitcase, but if his team can produce a few more displays like this, he might be carrying a trophy or two before too long.

+++

As it happened: relive the action 

FULL-TIME: Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich

85′ As well as Marcos Alonso, Chelsea will also be without Jorginho (suspended after picking up a yellow card for dissent earlier on) and Ngolo Kanté (injured). Could be an uphill struggle.83′ RED CARD: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

As Müller advances down the right, Lewandowski looks to run into position ahead of him but he his checked by Marcos Alonso with an elbow to the face. Straight red. Game over. Tie over?

81′ Tammy Abraham runs centrally at the Bayern defense. He has Willian to his right but continues alone until Boateng stops him with a well-timed tackle. But he looks like his thigh has cramped up as a result.

76′ GOAL! Chelsea 0-3 Bayern (Lewandowski)
Davies exchanges passes with Coutinho and then sends Christenson sprawling as he beats him with his pace. The Canadian crosses for Lewandowski who taps home his first Champions League knock-out stage goal since February 2018.

74′ Willian sends a dangerous ball across the Bayern six-yard box but it evades everyone, including Tammy Abraham at the back post, and Bayern survive.

69′ Müller sends Rüdiger the wrong way and crosses to the back post but Coutinho is off balance and can’t get his shot on target.

64′ Devastating for Kingsley Coman! The Frenchman pulls up clutching his hamstring, with which he has had issues before. He’s replaced by Philippe Coutinho.

Ticket price protest in the away end

54′ GOAL! Chelsea 0-2 Bayern (Gnabry)
No, it wasn’t a replay, Bayern double their lead! And it’s the same two involved again: Lewandowski to Gnabry, back to Lewandowski, back to Gnabry, back of the net. Chelsea look stunned.

51′ GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Bayern (Gnabry)
The away goal! A rapid Bayern counter-attack ends with a brilliant exchange of passes between Gnabry and Lewandowski and the former Arsenal man finishes to put Bayern ahead. Lovely move!

48′ Big chance for Chelsea! Mount looks like he’s through one-on-one with Neuer but Davies uses his lightning pace to get back. The ball falls to the onrushing Barkley but Neuer stands tall to block at close range.

SECOND-HALF! We’re back underway, both sides unchanged.

HALF-TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Bayern Munich
A fairly even first half in which Bayern have enjoyed most of the possession and hit the bar through Müller, who has been their best player. But Chelsea have shown that they can counter-attack and have also come close through Marcos Alonso. Robert Lewandowski has tested Chelsea goalkeeper Caballero twice but is still waiting to end his Champions League knock-out stage goal drought. All to play for in the second half.

45+1′ Yellow card for Thiago for a late challenge on Barkley. The first of the game.

45′ Gnabry does well to win the ball back for Bayern high up the pitch and then wins a corner. Well played. But Kimmich’s delivery is punched clear by Caballero.

43′ At the other end, Chelsea break with Alonso who leaves Pavard for dead and fires a low shot which Neuer saves well. 

43′ Kimmich sends a dangerous ball into the box but Chelsea clear.

42′ Bayern win a free-kick on the right-hand side after a bad challenge by Alonso on Coman.

35′  CROSSBAR! Bayern come closest to opening the scoring as Müller heads Gnabry’s cross onto the bar! It was an odd header though, the German meeting the ball with the back of his head and with his back to goal, and yet he had all the space in the world to get a proper effort on target.

34′ A poor clearance from Neuer leads to Chelsea’s biggest chance so far. The initial cross goes long but Kovacic keeps it alive and plays it back across the six-yard-box with the Bayern defense at sixes and sevens. But the visitors survive.

29′ Close from Müller! The “space interpreter” whips a ferocious effort just wide of the post. I think Caballero may have been beaten there …

28′ The next big Bayern chance as Müller finds space on the edge of the box and plays in Lewandowski – but again Caballero is on hand to save. Bayern are getting closer … 

26′ Davies and Gnabry combine on the edge of the Chelsea box and the ball is stabbed through to Lewandowski, but Caballero is there first.

25′ Speaking of possession, the Germans have had 66 percent of it so far.

24′ A prolonged spell of Bayern possession leads to very little until Chelsea win the ball and break. Giroud flicks it on to Ross Barkley but the English international’s cross drifts harmlessly across the box.

20′ … which Giroud meets but it bounces harmlessly into Neuer’s arms.

19′ Alaba clears Reece James’ dangerous cross for a Chelsea corner …

18′ Kovacic plays in Mount with a good ball from midfield for Chelsea, but Davies uses his pace to get back and clear the danger.

15′ A first sight of goal for Lewandowski who latches onto a long ball forward over his shoulder. He catches it well on the volley with his left but Caballero makes himself big to save.

11′ Big chance for Bayern! Müller sends Coman on his way and the Frenchman has Lewandowski for company, but he opts to shoot and drags his shot wide. 

9′ Giroud flicks a goal kick onto Mount who cuts inside past Davies and gets a shot away – just wide. The Mount vs. Davies duel has characterized the opening stages.

7′ Chelsea’s first effort of the game as Mount fires over the bar. Both sides which an energetic start here.

3′ A late challenge from Mount on Davies which catches the Canadian’s ankle nastily, but the Englishman gets away without a booking.

1′ Thomas Müller immediately with Bayern’s first shot on target, which is saved by Caballero.

KICK-OFF! We’re underway at Stamford Bridge

Choreo!

There’s a choreography in the home end ahead of kick-off, although it’s always hard to tell who actually organizes them in England. In Germany, the ultras are proud of their autonomy whereas English displays tend to be club-organized. This one’s not worked too well, anyway.

Hansi Flick: “Important to score an away goal, or even two.”

One day after his 55th birthday, head coach Hansi Flick has said an away goal would be the ideal present, but Bayern will have to break Chelsea down to do that. 

“The Tottenham game showed that Chelsea have got a bit more stable with three center-backs,” he told Sky. “They have a good mixture of experience and youth and they try to put the opposition under pressure. But we’re coming here to stamp our own authority on the game. It will be important to get an away goal – or maybe even two.”

Atmosphere building

Other Bayern fans have made it into the Shed End and are already making their presence known:

Trouble at the turnstiles

Our man on the ground tonight, Matt Pearson, reports of some trouble outside the away end at Stamford Bridge. Video footage appears to show several Bayern supporters attempting to rush the turnstiles. Arrests have reportedly been made and some fans appear to have been injured.

TEAM NEWS: Chelsea

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard opts for the same XI which beat London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the Premier League at the weekend. German international Antonio Rüdiger and former Borussia Mönchengladbach center-back Andreas Christensen form the central defensive partnership.

Chelsea XI: Caballero – Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger – James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso – Mount, Barkley – Giroud

TEAM NEWS: Bayern Munich

Hansi Flick makes four changes to the side which left it late against Paderborn on Friday night and returns to a back four. Jerome Boateng returns to central defense as Lucas Hernandez drops to the bench, Benjamin Pavard is at right-back in place of Alvaro Odriozola, while Joshua Kimmich moves back into midfield in place of Corentin Tolisso. Kingsley Coman gets the nod behind Robert Lewandowski ahead of Philippe Coutinho.

Bayern Munich XI: Neuer – Pavard, Alaba, Boateng, Davies – Thiago, Kimmich – Gnabry, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski

Knockout stage first timers

Hansi Flick and Frank Lampard will be in opposite dugouts when Bayern Munich take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Both have featured in the knockout stages of the Champions League as players, but will make their debuts as head coaches tonight. For Flick there’s a little more on the line than for Lampard.

Fun fact

Current manager Frank Lampard captained the Chelsea side that defeated Bayern on penalties in the 2012 final at the German club’s own stadium in Munich – although Bayern were able to enjoy a measure of revenge in the UEFA Super Cup the following season.

From the coach’s mouth: Hansi Flick

“I need to extend a compliment to Frank Lampard. They have a young team, and are very carefree when they play. They counter-attack quickly and look to shoot. They are a team that can put you under a lot of pressure, especially when they’re at home. That was also evident in their game against Spurs. They will try to knock us out of our rhythm. We will need to resist.” 

From the coach’s mouth: Frank Lampard

“We are up against strong opposition. Bayern can win the Champions League in any given year. Our task is to prepare the team for this match. We need to be focused and give it our all in order to win both games.” 

In the spotlight: Robert Lewandowski

The prolific Pole has been banging in goals for fun this season. 38 goals in 32 competitive matches to be exact. However, you would have to go back to February 20, 2018 for the last time he scored in the Champions League knockout stages. That’s 597 minutes without a goal – almost 10 hours!

Possible line-up: Chelsea

Caballero – James, Christensen, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta – Jorginho, Mount, Kovacic – Pedro, Abraham, Willian

Possible line-up: Bayern Munich

Neuer – Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Thiago – Gnabry, Müller, Coman – Lewandowski





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