When did chelsea win the champions league ? When Thomas Tuchel was given the job of reviving Chelsea at the end of January, he wanted to return them to next season’s Champions League via a top-four Premier League finish. The notion that he might actually win the thing for only the second time in the club’s history was ludicrous.
Not any more. On a night of glory for him and his team, the manager applied the final brush strokes to his renaissance masterpiece, out-manoeuvring his friend and rival, Pep Guardiola, and watching Kai Havertz score the decisive goal just before half-time.
Chelsea defended like demons to snuff out Manchester City but this was a perfectly calibrated triumph, built upon a structured attacking approach, choosing the right moments to transition, and illuminated by the smoothness of Havertz’s technique.
At the end, after the seven minutes of stoppage time had expired, with Riyad Mahrez having lifted a shot just off target for City with practically the last kick, and as the players in dark blue were overtaken by wide-eyed wonder, by the adrenaline main-lining their systems, Tuchel was relatively calm, trying to take it all in.
At the end of last season, Tuchel had been on the losing side in Europe’s showpiece final when his Paris Saint-Germain team were edged out by Bayern Munich. Perhaps the pain made this even sweeter.
What is irrefutable is how virtually everything Tuchel has touched since taking over from Frank Lampard has turned to gold. There has been the successful switch to a back three, which was plotted on the flight over from Paris on the day before his first game – his team have kept 19 clean sheets in 30 matches in all competitions – and the rise up from ninth in the league to the goal of fourth.
When did Chelsea win the UEFA Champions League?
Chelsea won the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League after beating Manchester City 1-0 at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. This is the London club’s second UCL title, having won it initially in the 2011-12 season.
The Blues’ 2020-21 has been far from perfect. After a promising start took a worse turn, legendary player Frank Lampard was relieved from his managerial post. Enter Thomas Tuchel, and the German took the club to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League and kept 18 clean sheets, the second-highest by any team. However, the Blues lost the FA Cup final to Leicester City, which perhaps could have sweetened the occasion a bit more than winning club football’s holy grail.
Chelsea began the 2020-21 UCL final on a slightly nervous note, as Manchester City came in with their ‘pressure’ tactics. Furthermore, Brazilian defender Thiago Silva limped off in the 39th minute with a groin injury.
Then, in the 42nd minute, German wonderkid Kai Havertz comes ahead of a scattered City defence to carry Mason Mount’s pass past Ederson and slide it into an empty net. The strike, which ended up being the only goal of the fixture, instantly drew parallels to the London club’s 2011-12 semi-final second leg against Barcelona.
The Roberto Matteo-coached team scripted one of the most fairytale comebacks in the club’s history by overturning a 2-1 aggregate score by 2-3 following goals from Brazilian midfielder Ramires and substitute Fernando Torres’ 92nd-minute dash charge that till today is his most significant moment in a Chelsea shirt.
In the 2011-12 UCL final, Didier Drogba played the hero not once but twice as he cancelled out Thomas Muller’s 83rd-minute strike with a towering header in the 88th minute and then scored the winning penalty to secure Chelsea’s maiden UEFA Champions League title. The Blues had won the penalty shootout by 4-3.
How many UEFA Champions League finals have Chelsea played?
Chelsea have played in three UEFA Champions League finals, with their first appearance coming in the 2007-08 edition, where they lost to Premier League rivals Manchester United on penalties.
The 2020-21 UEFA Champions League final was the third instance of an all-English final in the landmark competition, following Chelsea’s clash against Man Utd in 2007-08 and Liverpool’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur in 2018-19 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
Havertz goal enough for Chelsea win
The game in Porto began at a furious pace, both sides creating chances, the best falling to Timo Werner, Raheem Sterling, and Phil Foden.
But it was Havertz, three minutes before halftime, who showed the composure to round Ederson in the City goal and roll the ball home.
In the build-up Mason Mount’s pass was perfect for Havertz, the space for his run was created by Werner, it was an incisive move from a team working on the same wavelength.
Euphoria erupted among the navy blue half of the Estádio do Dragão, real noise from real fans – music to the ears of the millions watching around the world.
City had scored 60 goals in their last 25 Champions League games, but couldn’t find one here, Sergio Aguero watching on from the substitutes bench until 15 minutes from the end.
And there was to be no fairytale ending for Argentina’s Olympic gold medallist, his time at City ending in tears after the match.
In the end the heroes were all in dark blue, like N’Golo Kante who put in yet another Man of the Match performance, or captain Caesar Azpilicueta who cleared from under the crossbar on 67′ when Riyad Mahrez’ fizzing cross was on course for a Gundogan tap-in.
Chelsea flip the script
From when the teams were announced an hour before the match it appeared that City were set up to attack and Chelsea to defend.
The Sky Blues didn’t have a defensive midfielder in the lineup with both Rodri and Fernandinho watching from the sideline, while Chelsea set up with five at the back.
But Guardiola’s plan backfired, his team lacked structure and Chelsea found spaces easily with controlled, lightning-quick attacks.
At half time there was very little difference between the possession numbers for the two teams, the flock of attacking players creating confusion up front for the Citizens, while they looked vulnerable at the back.
Werner had a hat-trick of chances inside 20 minutes, but Sterling and Foden also had glimpses at goal in an open and entertaining game.
Havertz’ strike was a huge boost for Chelsea right before half time, and City lost Kevin de Bruyne ten minutes after half time to an injury after nasty collision with Rudiger who blocked his path.
City never found their flow and Chelsea dug deep, holding off a late siege with Kante simply everywhere.
Guardiola, having won the Champions League twice with Barcelona, was aiming to join the exalted company of Bob Paisley, Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane who have all won this tournament three times.
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