AOn Saturday evening shortly before eleven it was history, the longest of all the last sixteen in the history of the Champions League. And at the end, as at the beginning, there was a walk. 165 days after the 3-0 win in the first leg in London, at that time still in a full stadium, FC Bayern Munich have completed the compulsory exercise of the second leg with an effortless 4-1 win against FC Chelsea in their own empty arena brought. The goals were scored by Robert Lewandowski (10th / 84th minute), Ivan Perisic (24th) and substitute Corentin Tolisso (76th) when Tammy Abraham (44th) scored.
The way to the hoped-for triple for Bayern leads, as in 2013, via FC Barcelona. Lionel Messi’s team also prevailed on Saturday evening after the 1-1 draw in the first leg against SSC Napoli 3-1. This means that Bayern and Barca will meet next Friday at the final tournament in Lisbon in the quarter-finals, which, like the other rounds, will be decided in just one game. “The anticipation is huge, of course, we’re going to Portugal with confidence,” said Bayern professional David Alaba on Sky TV. “If you look at the last few weeks and months, we don’t have to hide.”
While the Catalans as well as the possible semi-final opponent Manchester City are still in the rhythm of the game due to the later restart of their domestic league after the Corona break, Bayern are faced with the difficulty that they played their last rehearsal in emergency conditions on July 4th in the cup final, whereupon we went on vacation and then back to training.
Weak, drained and decimated
Whether the competitive edge for a duel at the highest European level is already back or still there, the duel against Chelsea could hardly provide answers to Bayern. Frank Lampard’s troop seemed too weak, drained and decimated, who eight years after his great triumph as player and captain in the Champions League success in 2012 with Chelsea now returned to the Munich Arena as a coach, but this time with his team only a sparring partner was.
After just eight minutes, a single flat pass through the center, played by Serge Gnabry, dissolved the English defense into nothing. Lewandowski ran completely free, played around Willy Caballero, who was hurrying out of his goal, fell, and the Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan whistled for a penalty. This was initially withdrawn because the assistant on the line indicated offside, but the assistant in front of the screen overruled this assessment and Lewandowski was able to follow the penalty with a two-minute delay. He sure transformed.
It was his twelfth goal in the current Champions League season, which was later followed by the thirteenth, making the Poland’s personal triple independent of Bayern’s. He was already the top scorer in the Bundesliga (34 goals) and the DFB Cup (six goals) this season, and in the Champions League behind him is Erling Haaland, who came second, who scored ten times for RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, no longer in the Run. Otherwise no player has scored more than six goals. Even the six-year-old record for the most goals in a season in the premier class, 17 by Cristiano Ronaldo, are still within reach of the Bayern goalscorer.
Thomas Müller, who caught up with German record holder Philipp Lahm with his 112th Champions League game and is expected to overtake him on Friday, missed a good chance to increase the lead, and then Gnabry too. When it almost inevitably fell, Lewandowski had his feet in the game again, this time as a preparer. Against the seemingly hypnotized Chelsea defense, he took the time to study the options on the edge of the box and calmly decided on the best one, a pass to the unprotected Perisic. The Croatian pushed the ball into the near corner.
It was not surprising that Bayern then tried to save a little energy given their cumulative 5-0 lead. The pace and intensity slackened somewhat, and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was courted by Bayern last year, almost punished it with a nice goal, which was canceled due to an offside position in the formation after the VAR veto. It was a mistake by captain Manuel Neuer, who made the connection goal possible shortly before the break. The goalkeeper let a low Emerson cross bounce at the feet of Abraham, who shoved the ball into the empty goal.
Shortly after the break, Thiago, actually known as the ball passer, prevented the threatened equalization in a Chelsea counterattack with a cracking tackle in his own penalty area, which earned him loud praise from Neuer. The English became a little braver – until Lewandowski got serious again. Tolisso used his precise cross for the third goal – the striker took the fourth himself with a precise header.