News Matches

Outclassed: Lampard's Chelsea taught a harsh lesson by brilliant Bayern

6:46 PM EST 2/25/20
Marcos Alonso Chelsea 2019-20
The Blues wanted to celebrate their 2012 victory over the Bavarians but the past counted for nothing as the hosts suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat

Chelsea fans tried to unfurl a banner commemorating their 2012 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich ahead of kick-off at Tuesday night's Champions League clash with the same side.

However, as a video montage of that famous penalty shoot-out win at the Allianz Arena played on the big screens, the cloth got stuck and ruined the big reveal.

It was an ominous sign of things to come on a calamitous night for the hosts. Everything may have gone right for Chelsea in Bavaria, but nothing went right in west London.

Chelsea remain as ambitious as they were eight years ago but times have changed and the club are in a transition season under new manager Frank Lampard.

It was the former midfielder who lifted the trophy in Bavaria and he could not have experienced more contrasting emotions here, as he watched his team given a footballing lesson by a rampant Bayern side.

Indeed, Chelsea look to be already out of the Champions League after suffering a brutal beat-down, losing 3-0 in a depressingly one-sided first leg.

The Blues fought gamely, somehow managing to reach half-time still on level terms. However, Bayern blew them away with two quick-fire goals shortly after the interval.

Cesar Azpilicueta slipped trying to press, Andreas Christensen attempted to cover but, in doing so, broke the defensive line, which allowed Robert Lewandowski to cut the ball back cleverly for Serge Gnabry to open the scoring.

The pair linked up again just three minutes later, with Lewandowski easily winning a duel with Azpilicueta before slipping in Gnabry, who raced away from Christensen before doubling the visitors' advantage with a cool finish.

Lewandowski got the goal his performance deserved in the 76th minute, after a brilliant break down the left flank from Alphonso Davies.

At that point, some Chelsea fans began streaming out of the stadium. They knew there was no way back for their outclassed side.

As Lampard admitted to BT Sport afterwards, "The performance was poor and sometimes you have to be brutally honest. They outclassed us in every department and it's quite sobering."

Lampard had opted for the same 3-4-3 formation that saw his team overcome Tottenham at the weekend but Bayern are a far superior side.

Passion and energy may have been enough to defeat their injury-hit London rivals but the Champions League requires different qualities.

To compete with the likes of Bayern, you need class and composure. Chelsea had neither on the night.

Ross Barkley struggled terribly in his first Champions League start, while the entire back three of Antonio Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta looked out of their depth.

Even Lampard himself may have erred in opting to abandon his core principles in favour of a long-ball game that did nothing other than ensure that Bayern bossed possession.

Chelsea also lacked pace on the break despite Olivier Giroud's best efforts to hold up the ball and bring his support runners into the game.

After falling 2-0 down, Lampard threw caution to the wind by matching Bayern's formation.

Chelsea would concede again, meaning they will need another miracle in Munich to upset Bayern. It's not going to happen this time, though.

Bayern belong in the last eight of this season's Champions League; Chelsea do not.

The gulf in class was made painfully clear at Stamford Bridge and Hansi Flick was perhaps right when he shot down an English journalist on the eve of the first leg when he asked if Bayern were seeking revenge for 2012: "It has absolutely no significance whatsoever."

He was not wrong. This Chelsea side are nothing like the one that won the Champions League in such extraordinary circumstances eight years ago.

They may have been underdogs in 2012 but they still had the likes of Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Lampard and Didier Drogba within their ranks. Munich was the end of a quest for European glory that had begun many years beforehand.

Chelsea's current crop are only starting out on their journey and, as Tuesday night underlined, they will likely be taught many harsh lessons along the way.