Chelsea’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-final stages of the Champions League look dead and buried after Frank Lampard’s side were beaten 3-0 at Stamford Bridge by a classy Bayern Munich outfit in the first-leg of their last-16 tie.
Lampard, who sent his side out to defend deep and hit their opponent on the counter, had veteran goalkeeper Willy Caballero to thank for keeping them in the game on a couple of occasions. The home side would have been hopeful of getting a positive result after going in all square after the first 45 minutes.
However, Bayern began to really boss proceedings after the break, taking the game away from the Blues in the space of a few short minutes, the superb Robert Lewandowski twice teeing up former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry to finish clinically in the 51st and 54th minutes.
Lewandowski killed the tie with 15 minutes left on the clock, the Polish striker notching his 39th goal of the season from close range after excellent work down the left flank from electric young left-back Alphonso Davies.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Raúl have scored more UCL goals than Robert Lewandowski.
An all-time great striker. ??? pic.twitter.com/GDvsPiSPkW
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 25, 2020
Things went from bad to worse for Lampard’s shellshocked side, when Marcos Alonso was sent off for striking Lewandowski in the face. The Spaniard will join influential midfielder Jorginho in missing the second leg in three weeks time through suspension.
Although nobody could fault Chelsea’s attitude or work-rate, it was a sobering night for the Stamford Bridge outfit. Such was the gulf in class between the sides that few, if any, onlookers will give the Blues a realistic chance of overcoming a three away goal deficit in the second leg in Bavaria on the March 18.
Speaking afterwards, Chelsea boss Lampard admitted he was disappointed with his team’s performance but conceded they had been outclassed by Hans-Dieter Flick’s Bayern side.
“The performance was poor and sometimes you have to be brutally honest,” Lampard told BT Sport.
Fifteen. To. Three. ? pic.twitter.com/GIMnl4WYKT
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 25, 2020
”They outclassed us in every department and it’s quite sobering. The level of team they are is why they challenge in the Bundesliga and Europe year in year out.
”I’m disappointed we couldn’t do more against them. We have to take it on the chin and work towards getting back to the levels we want to be at.
“If you look at the choice of passes they make, our choices have to improve. If our players have a bit about them, which I think they do, they will look at who they were playing against and the level they need to work to.
”We will always play with pride but I’m more concerned about the bigger picture. How quickly can we recover for the Premier League and how quickly can we get to the level?”