Champions LeagueNo glory for Captain Kevin De Bruyne in Porto. Let down by Pep Guardiola’s incomprehensible tactical choice. Never really in the match. And even completely out of the match after a collision with German granite, called Rüdiger – in the worst case, resulting in a fracture of the cheekbone? All credit to Chelsea. Once more cooked in block, with Kai Havertz good for the only goal of the evening. Second Champions League triumph for the Blues, after also that unforgettable evening in Munich 2012.
Ai, Pep anyway. National title, League Cup and finally the key to the Champions League final found in a trusted eleven. To then change the team casually on the greatest evening. The opponent (read: Tuchel, of whom he lost three times this season) got so hard in the Spanish head that doubt took the upper hand. Let’s experiment with a City without number six. Not Fernandinho, the Citizens’ charm, or Rodri.
De Bruyne again on nine, but the offensive animation re-filled with confidence once again restored to Sterling – a season-long behind-the-scenes. The plan never worked. An unrecognizable City threatened only via Sterling – bad assumption after a long ball from Ederson and via Foden, after an all-too-rare pinch of genius from Kevin De Bruyne.
Of course, it also argues for Chelsea that it could curb the City machine. ‘Tuchels blue army’. A defensive and physically impressive block. With the German central defender Antonio Rüdiger as the personification of intransigence. Only with Timo Werner did it not work again. Awkwardly next to the ball, then too weak on Ederson. But successful in the conversion. Again. Just before the break, City was sentenced. Chilwell to Mount, which plunged wonderfully deep into the course of Havertz. Zinchenko in no man’s land. No better time for the German (21) to score his first Champions League goal for Chelsea.
Even after the break, Chelsea barely gave anything away. The ideal scenario emerged for the Blues. When Mahrez could finally show his class, Azpilicueta – another warrior – was in the way. To make matters worse, De Bruyne also dropped out, colliding with power man Rüdiger. The substitute Pulisic left the other side after relieving the tension. Mahrez came closest to it in minute 97. But this was Chelsea’s night. The evening of Thomas Tuchel. Last year with PSG lost the final, tonight to the party.
A drama for Guardiola, who lost five times to Tuchel from his barely 58 defeats. Only won the Champions League with Lionel Messi in the team. And a downer for Man City, of course. Still no cup with the Big Ears. What if? What if Guardiola had stayed with his regular elf? Only Pep knows.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss out on the stars.