It all came down to penalties yet again to separate Bayern Munich and Chelsea, with this time round the boys from south west London losing out to their German opponents.
When Fernando Torres was named on the team-sheet ahead of Romelu Lukaku, many eyebrows were raised, but Nando soon put his doubters to rest after a fantastic goal just eight minutes in. It all started when Fernando picked up the ball in Chelsea’s half, and played the ball to Eden Hazard before frantically hurrying up the pitch in attack. Hazard weaved in and out of Bayern’s midfield before shifting the ball on to his right foot to play the through ball to the feet of Andre Schurlle at the right hand side of the penalty box. Andre played a first touch pass in to the feet of Fernando Torres who sweetly side-footed the ball, which took an awkward bounce, into the top right hand corner. 1-0. Torres was looking on fine form tonight, with him being the centre of a lot of Chelsea’s best looking plays going forward.
The match was pretty equal from then on, with both Bayern and Chelsea looking dangerous in attack. Few chances went missing for either team, including Franck Ribery putting it wide of Cech’s goal on two occasions, despite looking very dangerous from the left hand side. However, shortly after the second half had kicked off, UEFA’s best player in Europe, Frack Ribery, scored a scorcher of a goal from 25 yards. Receiving the ball from Toni Kroos on his left, Ribery only needed two touches before powerfully striking the ball to Cech’s right hand side to see it hit the back of the net. 2-0, game on.
Munich continued to look a threat attacking in numbers, with Ribery and Robben occupying either wing, with Muller and Kroos in the two centre attacking roles. Despite Munich’s chances, including a sweetly struck Arjen Robben free kick as well as a brilliant blocked Tomas Muller strike, Chelsea kept on believing. Oscar unfortunately couldn’t make the most of a Dante slip, with Neuer saving a poorly attempted shot one on one, only to see Frank Lampard volley the rebound over the crossbar. Both teams looked like scoring as the clock slowly ticked towards 90 minutes.
Then our blue heart’s sunk down our body, as Ramires went in harshly on Mario Gotze, only to see his second yellow. Initially I thought it was a fair challenge from the Brazilian, however, Rami should know better not to follow in and go studs-up on Gotze’s ankle, especially as he was already on a yellow.
Chelsea, however managed to see the game into extra time, where an unexpected peach of a goal by Eden Hazard two minutes into the extra thirty minute period saw Chelsea go 2-1 up. Luiz played a through ball only to find Eden Hazard of the left hand side of the field. Cutting in past Phillipe Lahm, hazard struck the ball hard and low to the near corner to put Chelsea ahead. Fantastic goal from a fantastic player. I thought Hazard looked the best winger on the pitch today, better than Ribery, and better than Robben.
However much Bayern poured forward, Chelsea couldn’t hold on. It took until the last kick of the ball (literally!) for Bayern to get the awaited equaliser, with Martinez poking the ball in from a crowded penalty area.
There’s not much to talk about in the penalty shootout, but with the shootout at 5-4 to Bayern, Lukaku stepped up, and well, got it saved. We may have lost, be it on penalties, but I am more than proud of that performance. Before the game I was just hoping we wouldn’t get embarrassed like last year!
We really showed the whole of Europe that we can compete in every competition this year. I loved the defensive work from our attacking players. Last season it was so rare to see Eden Hazard defend, but today he always tracked Arjen Robben back, and started the attacks from deep. I think Gary Cahill had a fantastic game, with some crucial interceptions, blocks and tackles keeping Chelsea very much in the game. I can really see the ex-Bolton man having a great season. Jose seems to trust him a lot, which showed after he started him ahead of JT.
As for Lukaku, I just wanted to give him a hug. He looked absolutely gutted to have missed that penalty, not even a hug from Mata and an ear-rub from Essien could bring a smile to the young man’s face! We still believe in you Romelu!
Here’s to a promising season.