Champions League: Bayern Munich wallop Chelsea 3-0

Serge Gnabry scores for Bayern Munich
Serge Gnabry scores for Bayern Munich

THE last time Chelsea faced Bayern Munich in the Champions League, John Terry famously turned up in full kit and didn’t play.

Last night 11 Blues players did the very same thing, as Frank Lampard’s men were ruthlessly dispatched and virtually eliminated.

Chelsea have achieved the improbable in Munich’s Allianz Arena once before, of course.

But on March 18, they are going to have to pull off something damned-near impossible to progress into the quarter-finals after this first-leg gubbing.

In 2012, Lampard skippered the Blues to European Cup glory — in the absence of the suspended Terry — against Bayern in a shootout on their own turf.

And a kitted-up JT turned up to help lift the famous old pot.

Lamps will have to mastermind something just as memorable if Chelsea are not to be dumped by the German champions this time around.

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For the second time this season Serge Gnabry — an Arsenal reject, famously not fancied by Tony Pulis when on loan at West Brom — lit up London in the Champions League.

Robert Lewandowski and teammates celebrate Bayern's third goal
Robert Lewandowski and teammates celebrate Bayern’s third goal

After netting four times against Tottenham in October, Gnabry produced a swift double as Bayern gave Lampard’s boys a brutal lesson in elite-level football.

How poor old Pulis must dread him turning up against English opposition so that he can have his nose rubbed in it again…

Then Robert Lewandowski, who had assisted the first two, netted his 43rd goal of the season to shovel dirt onto Chelsea’s grave.

Marcos Alonso put the lid on a nightmare second half after being snitched on by the VAR official for an off-the-ball elbow on Lewandowski and was shown a red card.

There will be much talk about the naivety of youth after this but Lampard’s starting line-up was not as young as all that.

Only the wasteful Mason Mount and the struggling Reece James started from Lamps’ scamps.

It wasn’t so much a lack of experience which Chelsea lacked, it was more a deficiency of truly world-class players.

Premier League clubs have now lost three out of three in these last-16 first legs. With Manchester City facing Real Madrid tonight, there is a genuine chance all four English representatives might fail to reach the quarter-finals.

On the basis of this — and with Jorginho suspended for the return match, while N’Golo Kante is touch-and-go as he struggles with an adductor injury — you simply cannot see any way back for Chelsea.

The last time Bayern turned up in London, they created utter devastation with that extraordinary 7-2 defeat of Tottenham — then they sacked their manager Niko Kovac just a month later.

Standards are high at the Bavarian powerhouse and those standards have since been restored with ten wins in 11 unbeaten matches under Hans-Dieter Flick, sending Bayern back to their natural habitat at the top of the Bundesliga.

Bayern’s name has given goosebumps to Chelsea fans ever since the night of their lives eight years ago when, as the Matthew Harding Stand kept singing last night the Blues became ‘champions of Europe in your own backyard’.

But those gloats were sounding pretty empty towards full-time.

Lampard stuck with the starting XI which had defeated Tottenham 2-1 on Saturday.

That meant sticking with the bold calls of Willy Caballero in goal and Olivier Giroud up front, with Kepa Arrizabalaga and leading scorer Tammy Abraham on the bench.

Even in a goalless first half Bayern were the slicker side, Kingsley Coman playing a saucy one-two with Thomas Muller before drilling wide.

Lewandowski twice forced Caballero off his line to make blocks, before Muller leathered one inches wide from range.

BLUES BEWILDERED

Lampard’s men were struggling to get a touch but when Mateo Kovacic slipped in a reverse pass, Mount fired wide across the face of goal, just to prove to Bayern that the home side were still there.

Yet seconds later, Gnabry centred from the left and Muller’s back-pedalling header struck the bar.

At times, Bayern’s high-tempo move-and-stretch passing sequences bewildered the Blues.

Yet Chelsea threatened again when Alonso, profiting from Benjamin Pavard missing him with a stuntman’s sliding tackle, cracked one which Manuel Neuer did well to push out.

After the break, Mount was busy again, robbing Alphonso Davies and forcing Neuer into the block.

Then came one of the daftest bookings you will ever see.

Jorginho was cautioned for dissent after a foul by Josh Kimmich, who was rightly booked, but the card means the Blues midfielder is banned from the return.

Straight after that, Gnabry’s quick-fire double plunged the vast majority of the Bridge into pin-drop silence.

First the ex-Gunner pinged one out to Lewandowski on the left, the Pole squared and Gnabry slipped between two defenders to sidefoot home.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the same combination struck again three minutes later.

This time Gnabry and Lewandowski twice exchanged passes down the left flank, with Gnabry bending a low shot inside the far post.

The third arrived when Andreas Christensen lunged in pointlessly towards Davies, who centred for Lewandowski to tap home.

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