Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Serge Gnabry on the double and Robert Lewandowski strike as Bayern sink Chelsea

Posted on 25 February 2020 by Tusdiq Din

Chelsea 0 Bayern Munich 3

Serge Gnabry just loves London. In two Champions League visits, Gnabry has scored four goals at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in the group stage, of this year’s competition and against Chelsea on Tuesday evening, he was at it again in Bayern Munich’s last 16 first leg 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge with another double. A largely anonymous first half by the former Arsenal man when Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski went close, was followed by a lethal three minute Bayern burst.

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Gnabry opened the scoring for Bayern at Stamford Bridge

Cesar Azpilicueta slipped to allow Gnabry to speed away from him before feeding Lewandowski, then getting on the end of the Poland striker’s return for a well taken opener on 51 minutes. Three minutes later and Bayern and Gnabry doubled their tally. The former Gunner controlled the ball in the Chelsea half to then find Lewandowski on his left again. Gnabry raced in for the return to make it 2-0 with a well taken low shot past Willy Caballero.

Chelsea were being run ragged and their first half composure which saw the impressive Mason Mount go close slipped, and the Blues found themselves in an unwanted kind of desperation. Bayern were in no mood to let up however and scored a third goal on 76 minutes. Alphonso Davies was strong in defence all game. Going forward, Davies raced away nullifying the attentions of Andreas Christensen on the left, then leaving the desperate attempts of Azpilicueta in his wake. The Ghana born Canadian’s cross flew across the hapless Caballero for Lewandowski to add the simplest of finishes for his eleventh Champions League goal of the season.

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Gnabry’s second was his sixth Champions League goal in London

The Blues evening couldn’t have gotten any worse. The first leg three goal deficit is not what manager Frank Lampard would have expected, but his side were being given a Champions League lesson. Matters deteriorated further for Chelsea when Marcos Alonso was shown a red card following a VAR monitor intervention overturning referee Clement Turpin’s initial yellow card decision on 83 minutes. Alonso appeared to aim a fist at the advancing Lewandowski, a bizarre decision by the Spain defender given that Lewandowski was 30 yards away from goal .

The German champions started brightly. Mueller snatched at a shot which Caballero saved, while the muscular tussle of Olivier Giroud and Jerome Boateng was developing and was worth keeping an eye on if only for what constituted the art of attack versus defence. Starting consecutive times for Chelsea, the France striker was not afraid of getting his frame in the way of his marker and was again providing the focus for clever hold up play to get Chelsea up the pitch.

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Lewandowski on target for his 11th Champions League goal as Bayern ran riot

Chelsea eventually settled and with seven minutes on the clock, had their first sighter on Manuel Neuer’s goal but Mount volleyed over from 20 yards out following Azpilicueta’s throw in. Mount then evaded  the attentions of Davies, but dragged his shot wide when he might have been better to give Giroud the return.

But it was Bayern who controlled large parts of the first half. Thiago Alcantara, Joshua Kimmich interchanged passes at pace with Kingsley Coman and Gnabry willing wide outlets. Thomas Muller’s back to front flicked header should have given Bayern a first half lead, but the striker managed to get his angles slightly wrong to hit the bar.

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The Blues. Chelsea must overturn a three goal deficit in the second leg

With damage limitation in mind ahead of the second leg in three weeks time, Chelsea needed to try to make the slightest of chances count. Kimmich’s pass was poor and went straight to Mount, but he decided to go it alone from the corner of the penalty area but his effort was well off target. Coman made way for Philippe Coutinho on 66 minutes, and with his first attempt on goal, the Brazil striker was unable to make proper contact with a volley which rolled along the six-yard box and Chelsea just about cleared the danger.

By then Bayern had achieved their first leg objectives and bar a miraculous second leg outcome from Chelsea in Munich, the Bundesliga side look all but home and hosed for the quarter finals.