Chelsea vs Bayern Munich: Gnabry, Lewandowski push Blues to brink with 3-0 thumping

Bayern Munich appears on course for the Champions League quarter-finals after Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski dismantled Chelsea.

Serge Gnabry celebrates after scoring at Stamford Bridge.

Serge Gnabry celebrates after scoring at Stamford Bridge.   -  Getty Images

Serge Gnabry starred as Bayern Munich seized control of its Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea with a resounding 3-0 win in the opening leg at Stamford Bridge.

After a dominant opening half in which Thomas Muller hit the crossbar, the Bundesliga leader – facing Chelsea for the first time since losing to the Blues in the 2012 final – took the match away from its host in the space of three second-half minutes.

Gnabry, who scored four in a 7-2 rout over Tottenham in Bayern's last trip to London, netted a brace, combining brilliantly with Robert Lewandowski, who got Bayern's third with 14 minutes remaining.

With Bayern in the ascendency ahead of the return fixture on home soil, Chelsea's misery was compounded when Marcos Alonso was sent off late on.

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Retaining his place in Chelsea's line up at Kepa Arrizabalaga's expense, Willy Caballero had a save to make in the first minute when he kept out Muller's strike.

Muller turned provider 10 minutes later with a brilliant exchange of passes with Kingsley Coman, who sliced wide, while Caballero twice denied Lewandowski.

With Olivier Giroud failing to turn in Mason Mount's cross at the other end, the bar came to Chelsea's rescue from a Muller header.

But Bayern made no mistake with its next chance – Lewandowski squaring for the supporting Gnabry to side-foot home.

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They swiftly added a second, too, with Lewandowski and Gnabry combining once more for the latter to slot into the bottom-right corner.

Gnabry could have had his third before the hour only to hammer over on the volley, though Bayern was inconvenienced by Coman succumbing to an apparent hamstring injury.

Chelsea seemed to be gathering a head of steam late on, yet Frank Lampard's side found itself down – and all but out – when the excellent Alphonso Davies raced clear to tee up Lewandowski for his 11th Champions League goal of the season, with Alonso then seeing red after a VAR check for violent conduct.

What does it mean? Premier League must be the priority for Chelsea 

Bayern has dropped Bundesliga points just once – against RB Leipzig – since November at home. Having scored three away goals, it has a comfortable cushion which should be easily enough to see it go through to the last eight.

For Chelsea, however, the target now must be ensuring it shakes off competition from Tottenham and Manchester United – along with a host of other clubs – to finish within the Champions League qualification spots in England's top tier.

London calling for ex-Gunner Gnabry

Gnabry – a former Arsenal player – has now scored six goals in the Champions League this season, with all of them coming in the English capital. He displayed brilliant composure for his opener and unerring accuracy with his second.

Reckless Alonso falls foul of VAR

As if things were not already going to be difficult enough in the second leg, Chelsea will be without one of its most experienced players after Alonso got himself sent off for lashing out at Lewandowski off the ball. A VAR check led to the colour of the card shown to the defender changing from yellow to red.

Key Opta facts

- Chelsea has suffered eight home defeats in all competitions this season, its worst tally of home defeats since the 1985-86 season (also eight).

- Bayern is only the third team in Champions League history to win its first seven games in a season, after Barcelona in 2002-03 and Real Madrid 2014-15, neither of whom went on to win the trophy.

- This was Chelsea's heaviest ever home European defeat and its heaviest defeat at Stamford Bridge in any competition since January 2018 (3-0 v Bournemouth in the Premier League).

- Serge Gnabry has scored six goals in two appearances in London for Bayern Munich, having scored none in nine appearances in London for Arsenal between 2012 and 2014.

- Hansi Flick became only the seventh manager to win his first four Champions League matches, and the first since Diego Simeone in November 2013.

- Marcos Alonso became the first Chelsea player to be sent off in the Champions League since John Terry in April 2012 against Barcelona.

 

What's next?

A trip to Bournemouth comes up next for Chelsea as the Blues aim to consolidate their place in the Premier League's top four. Bayern, meanwhile, is back in Bundesliga action against Hoffenheim on Saturday.

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