Champions League: Bayern Munich’s treble dream lives on after Chelsea
Bayern Munich 4-1 Chelsea (aggregate: 7-1)
(Lewandowski 10′ (pen) 84′, Perisic 24′, Tolisso 76′ – Abraham 44′)
Allianz Arena, Munich
Bayern put the rest of the Champions League on high-alert as they booked a quarterfinal date with Barcelona at Chelsea’s expense.
It was a defeat to Chelsea in 2012 that inspired the first treble in Bayern Munich’s glittering history and now the German record titleholders will be hoping a win over the Blues can get the ball rolling on another.
This was Chelsea’s first return to the Allianz Arena since Didier Drogba scored the winning penalty to break Bayern hearts in the Finale Dahoam (“Home final”). It came under very different circumstances.
The hosts were out build not only on the 3-0 lead they had fashioned five and a half months prior at Stamford Bridge, but also the domestic double they had clinched in the meantime.
Flexibility and intensity to the fore under Flick
Head coach Hansi Flick has been lauded for restoring a Bayern philosophy that had become lost in transition. One of the more impressive facets though is that he’s done so whilst managing a squad light on depth and prone to injuries.
With Benjamin Pavard sidelined, Joshua Kimmich was forced to drop into a backline in which Jerome Boateng was the only defender playing in his natural position. It was another demonstration of Bayern’s ability and versatility.
Flick recently said that Bayern’s intensity is “crucial” in their pursuit of playing “attractive possession football.” Despite a five-week hiatus and even with a three-goal cushion, Bayern produced a purposeful opening that forced Chelsea to play at their pace.
Their just reward was a 2-0 lead inside the opening half an hour. Robert Lewandowski netted from the spot before teeing up Ivan Perisic for a neat near-post finish that doubled Bayern’s lead.
Sending a message
The German record titleholders were taking on a Chelsea side not expecting an upset, but keen to deliver a positive for their fans to mull over for the shortened summer hiatus. The fight back came before half-time and saw one-time Bayern target Callum Hudson-Odoi denied by VAR before Tammy Abraham tapped in from a rare Manuel Neuer mistake on the stroke of half-time.
If anything the glimmer of hope the Blues created for themselves before the break only gave Bayern more motivation to snuff it out after the restart.
At no stage did Flick’s charges rest on their laurels, instead they produced a dominant second-half performance that stood as a statement of their title-winning intent with Corentin Tolisso and Lewandowski adding to the score line.
The ambition levels never dropped on the pitch against Chelsea and, on the back of another exemplary performance that underlines their progress under Flick, the ambition levels off the pitch won’t wane either.
The dream of another treble lives on.
+++ As it happened: +++
FULL-TIME! Bayern Munich 4-1 Chelsea (7-1 on aggregate)
Just as they did in the first leg, Bayern Munich make light work of Chelsea, running out 4-1 winners on the…