We’ve seen some brilliant games under Hansi Flick, and we decided to make a series showcasing the top 10 matches that the legendary coach gave us. These reviews will look at the buildup, the match itself, the match’s significance, and the aftermath. Enjoy!
Episode 2. Chelsea 0-3 FC Bayern
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg
February 25, 2020
Stamford Bridge, London
Lineup: Neuer - Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies - Kimmich, Thiago(Goretzka 90) - Gnabry(Tolisso 85), Muller, Coman(Coutinho 66) - Lewandowski
Goal scorers: None/Gnabry 51’, 54’, Lewandowski 76’
After booking their place in the round of 16 of the Champions League with six wins out of six group games, Bayern Munich faced a tough challenge in the form of Chelsea. Due to their rather unpleasant history with the Londoners, Bayern fans around the world were hoping that Flick and his men would avenge the final that shall remain nameless. Easier said than done, of course.
Bayern were in great form, coming into the game without a defeat in the new year, and having dropped points in just one game against RB Leipzig (0-0 draw). But this was the Champions League. A competition that provides higher quality opposition than the Bundesliga. It remained to be seen whether Bayern could shine outside of Germany after having been humiliated the previous year by another Premier League team. Needless to say, it was not a pressure-free trip to London.
Bayern started the game in a less rambunctious manner than usual, although that’s not to say they didn’t have their chances. In fact, if it hadn’t been for opposing goalkeeper Willy Caballero, Bayern would likely have killed the tie by halftime. Not only that, but the woodwork also came to Chelsea’s rescue when Thomas Muller’s header rattled the crossbar. But Chelsea was not going to go down without a fight either, and Manuel Neuer had to be alert to keep the score at 0-0.
The second half was much more one-sided. Barely ten minutes past the restart, Serge Gnabry played a one-two with Robert Lewandowski and slotted home the opener in front of the Bayern faithful. Three minutes later, Lewandowski latched onto a long punt from Neuer, and he and Gnabry exchanged a couple of passes before the latter rolled the ball into the far corner to double the score.
With the game suddenly blown open, Chelsea struggled to get back into the game but were dealt with another blow as Lewandowski took matters into his own hands this time. The credit for Lewandowski’s goal, though, should go to Alphonso Davies. The Canadian left three players in the dust as he tore up the left flank and squared it to Lewandowski, who finished it easily.
Chelsea’s miserable evening ended with Marcos Alonso being sent off after he struck Lewandowski in the face while fighting for the ball, and Bayern flew back to Munich with a three-goal advantage.
Why was this match special?
Bayern’s dominance in the league had not gone unnoticed, but few really gave them the credit they deserved. This game was the game that garnered the attention that Bayern fully deserved. Apart from a 7-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the group stages, Bayern had never looked like immense title contenders, because, well, it was just the group stages. But this game showed that Bayern still meant business in the Champions League, blowing away a strong Chelsea side with little difficulty.
It also put Serge Gnabry back on the map. Gnabry had gone on a dry streak in the Champions League ever since his four-goal-haul in the aforementioned win over Spurs. The world came to appreciate Gnabry and his London-based talent once more after his brace against Chelsea, and they would not be forgetting his name any time soon. Alphonso Davies also shone in this game with his outrageous assist, putting his name in the spotlight as well.
All in all, this game was the first step in what turned out to be a very successful Champions League knockout round for Bayern. On a slightly more somber note, it also remains the last Champions League game that Bayern fans were present for up until now. Fingers crossed that the fans will be back in the stadium soon.
After nailing down a three goal lead, Bayern continued their success story in the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal too, scoring nine goals and conceding none in their next three games. That stat becomes even more impressive when you factor in the absence of Robert Lewandowski, who picked up a knee injury against Chelsea.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant that Bayern’s run had to come to an abrupt halt in March, but thankfully, the Champions League tournament resumed in August, and Bayern, along with a fully rejuvenated Lewandowski, dispatched Chelsea 4-1 in the return leg to book their place in the quarterfinals. Lewandowski scored twice and assisted twice in that game, thus having a hand in all seven goals in Bayern’s tie with Chelsea that season.