There is no competition more important in the world of club soccer than the UEFA Champions League. The yearly tournament brings together the best teams from Europe to definitively prove who is the best. The 2019-20 edition of the competition is now entering the knockout phase with only 16 teams remaining. Two tournament matches were held on Tuesday, February 25, but the marquee contest of the day saw Germany’s Bayern Munich travel to London to face Chelsea.
Based on the way they are performing in their home leagues, Bayern Munich entered the Round of 16 matchup against Chelsea as huge favorites. Bayern is currently sitting at the top of the Bundesliga standings after losing only four of their first 23 games. Chelsea is in the midst of a down season thanks to an inability to get key wins. Despite the struggles, Chelsea is still in fourth place in the English Premier League.
This was guaranteed to be an interesting matchup because these two clubs have completely different styles. Bayern loves to suffocate their opponent by dominating possession of the ball while Chelsea likes to selectively pick their chances to strike on the counterattack. Both strategies worked out fairly well in the first half as each team had several great scoring chances. While the first half was filled with a lot of exciting action, neither team was able to get a goal.
The laid back approach by Chelsea finally came back to haunt them in the second half. They simply gave Bayern Munich too much space with the ball, which lead to a plethora of amazing scoring opportunities. Bayern broke the scoreless draw in the 51st minute when Serge Gnabry tapped in an easy goal that was set up by a beautiful pass from Robert Lewandowski. The two Bayern strikers created another spectacular goal three minutes later.
Chelsea was forced to switch to a more offensive formation after going down two goals. While this helped them create a few scoring chances, it also exposed their defense. Bayern Munich took advantage of the exposed back line when in the 76th minute with a goal by Lewandowski. Chelsea tried their best to get one of the goals back, but they were ultimately unsuccessful.
These two teams will meet in Munich for the second leg of their matchup on March 18. Chelsea will need a miraculous effort if they want to advance after yesterday’s 3-0 loss at home.