Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League and so the 19th of May became the best day in the history of the football club. However, let’s have a look at how they got there. In the group stages Chelsea were under the management of the highly unpopular Andreas Villas Boas and were just about scraping through their games. They started well by beating Leverkusen 2 – 0 and the Belgium team Genk 5 – 0. However, several draws and a loss in the return match to Bayer Leverkusen left Chelsea needing a win in the last game against Valencia if they were to progress. Thankfully for Villas Boas everyone pulled together and Chelsea comfortably won the game 3 – 0 reviving the possibility of lifting the trophy for Roman Abramovic.

When it was revealed that Chelsea were to play Napoli in the last 16 many Chelsea fans were pessimistic about their chances. Chelsea had recently dropped points in the Premier League and the pressure was piling up on the manager. For the first leg Chelsea went to Naples and although Mata’s goal gave them an early lead the Italian side quickly recovered and goals from Cavani and Lavezzi meant that the game ended 3 – 1 to Napoli. That was the end of the road for AVB and as he left in came the assistant coach Roberto Di Matteo. The players seemed happier now and the difference was noticeable. Half an hour into the the return leg Drogba put Chelsea into the lead. Ramirez’s cross had found the head of the striker who acrobatically managed to head the ball into the back of the net. John Terry scored a header from the corner  put Chelsea two goals in the lead. However their joy didn’t last long as Napoli went straight up the other end and scored a wonder goal from the edge of the box. Suddenly Chelsea were going out and and they started coming forward with tremendous urgency. They were soon rewarded with a penalty which was dispatched expertly by Frank Lampard. Extra time. Chelsea continued to dig in and with the home fans behind them it was only a matter of time before they got the fourth goal. Didier Drogba, recently turned 34, showed a great burst of pace before placing a perfect cross into the path of the onrushing Branoslav Ivanovic. The Serbian smashed the ball into the roof of the net and the whole of Stamford Bridge erupted. Chelsea were in the quarter finals.

The draw for the quarter finals was kinder to Chelsea as they got the Portuguese team Benfica. In the first leg Chelsea travelled to the stadium of light and produced a fantastic defensive performance reducing Benfica to playing long ball football. They then got a precious away goal thanks to Torres who  did all the hard work before playing the ball to Kalou in the penalty area. From there he couldn’t miss and gave the Blues the lead. In the second leg Chelsea just about scraped through thanks to a late goal from the ex-porto player Raul Miereles.

Everyone then thought that Chelsea’s Champions League campaign would be halted when they were announced to be playing the holders and favourites for this years competition, Barcelona. In the first leg Barcelona dominated but Chelsea’s defence stood strong and made it difficult for the world’s best players. However Chelsea began to counter attack and on the stroke of half time they took the lead. Frank Lampard turned defence into attack by floating a long pass to Ramirez. The Brazilian controlled the ball on his chest before racing into the penalty area. Unselfishly he squared the ball to Drogba who fired the ball home. Chelsea hung on and took a slender lead to the Nou Camp. The second leg didn’t start well and Chelsea were quickly 1-0 down. Things soon turned from bad to worst as the influential captain John Terry was sent off for kneeing a player in the back which followed a second goal for Barca. Everyone feared the worst for Chelsea and knew it would take a monumental effort to win the game. However out of nothing Chelsea scored a goal. Frank Lampard showed tremendous vision to find Ramirez who skilfully chipped the ball over the stranded Barcelona keeper. At half time the Blues were somehow heading for the final,  but still had to not concede for another 45 minutes. It started badly for Chlesea who gave away a needless penalty. Thankfuly for them the world’s best player Leonel Messi hit the bar and Chelsea were off the hook. Afters waves and waves of attacks that were courageously repelled by the Londoners, Barcelona were finally silenced. The Spanish team had thrown everyone forward leaving one long ball putting Torres one on one with the keeper. For a player who has had a hard season Fernando Torres showed no nerves as he majestically rounded the keeper before tapping the ball into an empty net. The Chelsea players and fans went crazy because Torres had just ensured Chelsea’s place in the Champions League final. The blues were going to Munich!

the road to Munich 

Lorenzo Webster

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