Chelsea FC’s sojourn in the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League has been both interesting and intriguing. They started with a club legend, Frank Lampard in the Managers seat and ending with Thomas Tuchel in-charge.
The Blues had struggled tp find consistency under their former manager Frank Lampard, who was an integral part of the team of players that won them their only Champions League trophy, and had to make a change to Thomas Tuchel.
Thomas Tuchel have already tested defeat in the Champions League final, as he took PSG to the final last season, where he lost to the club from his home country; Bayern Munich.
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How exactly did Chelsea get to the final of the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League?
Chelsea needed a top four finish in the 2019/2020 Premier League season to earn direct qualification to the group stage. They finished in fourth position with 66 points behind Manchester United (66 Points), Manchester City (81 Points) and League winners Liverpool (99 Points).
The draw for the group stages was kind to Chelsea, as they went into Group E alongside Sevilla of Spain, Krasnodar of Russia and Rennes of France.
The group stages results were as expected, as they picked up 4 wins, and 2 draws to top the group with 14 points, one point ahead of Sevilla.
- Matchday 1: Chelsea 0, Sevilla 0
- Matchday 2: Chelsea 4, Krasnodar 0
- Matchday 3: Chelsea 3, Rennes 0
- Matchday 4: Chelsea 2, Rennes 1
- Matchday 5: Chelsea 4, Sevilla 0
- Matchday 6: Chelsea 1, Krasnodar 1
Frank Lampard couldn’t replicate the Champions league group stage performances in the premier league, and would be sacked 48 days after the last match of the group stage.
In came Thomas Tuchel, who was relieved of his duties at PSG, a day later. The German had about a month to prepare for the first leg of the round of 16, against a team no-one wanted to play in knockout stages of the champions league.
Round of 16
Tuchel’s impeccable defense and an Olivier Giroud magical goal in 68th minute gave Chelsea a 1-0 away win. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the match was not played in Spain but at the National Arena in Bucharest.
Atleti didn’t produce a single shot on target as the Blues’ defense thrived on a team that just wasn’t all there that day, taking home a quality result that put them on the brink of the quarters.
Chelsea went about closing out the game in the second leg played at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Hakim Ziyech in the 34th minute and a second by Emerson in second half injury time.
The Blues won 3:0 on aggregate, with Atletico Madrid having only four shots on target; shots taken in the second leg of the fixture.
Chelsea faced FC Porto of Portugal in the quarter final, and once again the away match was not played in Porto Portugal but in Sevilla Spain.
Once again Chelsea defensive line was as efficient as ever, while goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chiwell gave the Blues a 0:2 win away from home.
Porto was able to put a dent in Chelsea’s cruise to the semi-final as they won 1:0 at Stamford bridge, with the goal coming in the second half injury time from Mehdi Taremi.
Chelsea progressed to the semi-final on a 2:1 aggregate win.
Having navigated through Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16, Chelsea came up against their city rivals Zidane’s Real Madrid in the semis.
In the first leg marked by Kante’s dominance in the midfielder, Chelsea came away from Madrid with a 1:1 draw, a vital away goal in the bag.
It was American Christian Pulisic who scored the opener to give his side a crucial away goal, putting the Londoners on the brink of the final. Benzema’s second-half goal kept this close entering the second leg under the lights at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea put in a convincing performance in the second leg, as the defense and attack were ruthlessly efficient.
Timo Werner’s 28th minute goal, and Mason Mount’s 85th minute goal sent Chelsea to the final.
This will be Chelsea’s third Champions League final in the club’s history. They lost their first final against Manchester United in 2008 in Moscow, on penalties after the game ended 1:1.
They won on the second time of asking against Bayern Munich in 2012 at the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich’s home stadium, again on penalties after the game ended 1:1.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur