Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich: Gnabry and Lewandowski push Blues to the brink
Bayern Munich appear on course for the Champions League quarter-finals after Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski dismantled Chelsea.
After a dominant opening half in which Thomas Muller hit the crossbar, the Bundesliga leaders – facing Chelsea for the first time since losing to the Blues in the 2012 final – took the match away from their hosts in the space of three second-half minutes.
Gnabry, who scored four in a 7-2 rout over Tottenham in Bayern’s last trip to London, netted a brace when twice combining brilliantly with Robert Lewandowski, who got Bayern’s third with 14 minutes remaining.
With Bayern in the ascendency ahead of the return fixture on home soil, Chelsea’s misery was compounded when Marcos Alonso was sent off late on.
6 – Serge Gnabry is the first player in Champions League history to score each of his first six goals in the competition all against sides from the same nation (4 v Tottenham, 2 v Chelsea). Gunner. #CHEBAY pic.twitter.com/FwfXanlclq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 25, 2020
Retaining his place in Chelsea’s line up at Kepa Arrizabalaga’s expense, Willy Caballero had a save to make in the first minute when he kept out Muller’s strike.
Muller turned provider 10 minutes later with a brilliant exchange of passes with Kingsley Coman, who sliced wide, while Caballero twice denied Lewandowski.
With Olivier Giroud failing to turn in Mason Mount’s cross at the other end, the bar came to Chelsea’s rescue from a Muller header.
But Bayern made no mistake with their next chance – Lewandowski squaring for the supporting Gnabry to side-foot home.
They swiftly added a second, too, with Lewandowski and Gnabry combining once more for the latter to slot into the bottom-right corner.
Gnabry could have had his third before the hour only to hammer over on the volley, though Bayern were inconvenienced by Coman succumbing to an apparent hamstring injury.
Chelsea seemed to be gathering a head of steam late on, yet Frank Lampard’s side found themselves down – and all but out – when the excellent Alphonso Davies raced clear to tee up Lewandowski for his 11th Champions League goal of the season, with Alonso then seeing red after a VAR check for violent conduct.
What does it mean? Premier League must be the priority for Chelsea
Bayern have dropped Bundesliga points just once – against RB Leipzig – since November at home. Having scored three away goals, they have a comfortable cushion which should be easily enough to see them go through to the last eight.
For Chelsea, however, the target now must be ensuring they shake off competition from Tottenham and Manchester United – along with a host of other clubs – to finish within the Champions League qualification spots in England‘s top tier.
London calling for ex-Gunner Gnabry
Gnabry – a former Arsenal player – has now scored six goals in the Champions League this season, with all of them coming in the English capital. He displayed brilliant composure for his opener and unerring accuracy with his second.
Reckless Alonso falls foul of VAR
As if things were not already going to be difficult enough in the second leg, Chelsea will be without one of their most experienced players after Alonso got himself sent off for lashing out at Lewandowski off the ball. A VAR check led to the colour of the card shown to the defender changing from yellow to red.
A trip to Bournemouth comes up next for Chelsea as the Blues aim to consolidate their place in the Premier League’s top four. Bayern, meanwhile, are back in Bundesliga action against Hoffenheim on Saturday.