All but securing their spot in the quarter-finals of this year’s Champions League thanks to a 3-0 romp at Stamford Bridge 165 days ago, there wasn’t to be another 2012 miracle for Chelsea this time around.
With Robert Lewandowski finding the net either side of the break, Bayern Munich stormed to a 4-1 victory on Saturday night and cruised past Frank Lampard’s youngsters thanks to a 7-1 aggregate hammering.
While Tammy Abraham‘s strike might have been an ever so minor consolation for the Premier League outfit, it could not prevent Hans-Dieter Flick’s men from booking a one-off showdown with Barcelona next week.
Securing another empathic victory for the German heavyweights this weekend, what are the three big talking points after a free-scoring night at the Allianz?
Can anyone stop Lewandowski?
Earning and converting Bayern’s penalty within the opening 10 minutes, few would have believed that Robert Lewandowski would leave the Allianz without his name on the scoresheet this weekend.
While the Polish marksman might have seen Lazio ace Ciro Immobile pinch the Golden Shoe from under him this summer, the 31-year-old is enjoying a record-breaking campaign in Munich and once again bagged another brace on European duties.
With only a handful arguing that he isn’t the most lethal number nine on the planet, Lewandowski recorded his 52nd and 53rd strikes for the Bavarians across all completions this season on Saturday night.
Causing Chelsea a string of problems on home soil, as he has done against many of Europe’s heavyweights this year, only Bayern Hall of Famer Gerd Muller has recorded more goals for the German Giants.
In fact, Europe’s leading marksman became just the fourth player in Champions League history to find the net in seven European matchups on the bounce.
Recording 13 goals in this summer’s extended tournament, Lewandowski could be the difference if Bayern are to lift their first Champions League crown since 2013.
A tale of two halves for Chelsea
While Tammy Abraham might have managed to grab his 18th strike of the season on his 50th appearance for the Blues on Saturday night, it was the same old defensive issues that have haunted Chelsea for large spells this year, particularly since returning from football’s enforced break.
Shipping a quarter of strikes on foreign soil and eventually blown away 7-1 on aggregate, Chelsea have now conceded at least a pair of goals in six of their last seven away matchups across all completions, a run that also saw them hit with a 3-0 drumming against Sheffield United last month.
Although the West London outfit might have already managed to recruit both Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech this summer, the former England midfielder will know that his side needs to splash out on defensive reinforcements.
With £70million keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga settling for a place on the bench once again this weekend and it appearing he will be on the move over the coming months, Lampard’s youngsters were constantly carved open on Saturday and simply couldn’t handle Lewandowski and Co at the Allianz.
Do Bayern have the best squad in Europe?
While Chelsea might have been without a string of first-team stars including Christian Pulisic and César Azpilicueta on Saturday night, Flick has a squad that is glittering with stars and some around Munich feel their current crop can even rival Pep Guardiola’s former record breakers.
Electing to go with nine of the starting XI that helped Bayern lift the DFP Pokal title thanks to a 4-2 win against Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin last month, it is hard to find another squad around Europe that can match the depth that Bayern has to offer.
For a team that is already averaging almost three goals per game, there is no doubt that the addition of Leroy Sané this summer was another huge scalp for the defending German champions.
Making the move from fellow European contenders Manchester City in a deal that could rise to £54million last month, the pacey winger has linked up with an attack that already includes the likes of Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Ivan Persic.
Along with watching the Croatian international bag his seventh strike on Saturday, Flick has given his squad an extra boost by the news that both Benjamin Pavard and Kingsley Coman will be back to face off against Barcelona in next weekend’s one-off quarter-final showdown.
Now winning their last eight Champions League appearances on the bounce and laying down another marker in empathic fashion on Saturday night, Flick’s men are now priced at 3/1 with 888sport to lift their first European title in seven years this summer.
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