Havertz ran on Mason Mount’s perfectly weighted deep ball and was popped by City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes before placing the ball into an empty net in the 42nd minute.
Chelsea added to the first European Cup they won in 2012 and became the 13th multiple winner of the world’s biggest club football competition. Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel got his hands on the trophy a year after losing in the 2020 final to Paris Saint Germain.
City’s long, often painful and generously funded journey to the top of European football remains incomplete and Guardiola might regret tinkering with his established squad that propelled City to their first Champions League final and to the brink of another treble.
The innovative Spain coach, looking to win the Champions League for the third time and the first since 2011, has been guilty in recent years of overthinking his tactics in big games and he might have started again here.
Leaving without a striker was expected – Guardiola preferred this in Champions League knockout matches – but doing without a specialist midfielder in Fernandinho or Rodri was a major surprise and seemed to destabilize City.
It meant that Ilkay Gundogan, City’s top scorer this season and a revelation in his role as an attacking midfielder, fell as a midfield presenter and he struggled to protect City’s defense.
Indeed, for Chelsea’s goal, Mount had the time and space to pass a superb pass from inside his half through the center of City’s defense – which was opened by Timo Werner’s decoy run. – for Havertz. Ederson came out of the box and touched the ball with his hand, but Havertz regained his balance and applied the easy finish.
City have never had the control Guardiola craves so much and, in that regard, Tuchel – another tactically astute manager – has been the winner of his coaching duel with a rival he describes as ‘the benchmark’.
Werner, who was working well behind City full-backs, had already wasted two fine chances before goal, first by mistaking Havertz’s cut, then obediently shooting Ederson at close range.
City faced the colossal task of breaking through Chelsea’s well-established defense twice in the second half – a task which became much more difficult when City star player Kevin De Bruyne, who had little impact in the the false nine role, was forced to leave the 60th after a clash of heads with Antonio Rudiger.
Fernandinho finally came on in the 64th, when Chelsea had pulled out and were looking to strike the counterattack. On the one hand, substitute Christian Pulisic – the first American player to make a Champions League final – ran over Havertz’s pass but slipped a shot right next to it.
Even a 15-minute cameo from Sergio Aguero in the last game of his 10-year career at City could save nothing for the Premier League champions, whose players collapsed to the ground at the final whistle.
Meanwhile, Chelsea players ran to their fans who represented 14,110 spectators at the Estadio do Drag Drago, the replacement venue for the final at the end of a pandemic-stricken season.