Chelsea beat Real Madrid 2-0 to a 3-1 cumulative success in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday.
Goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount booked a Premier League clash with Manchester City in the final in Istanbul on May 29.
AFP Sport takes a look at three things we learned from the Stamford Bridge clash:
Tuchel’s Midas touch
Since replacing sacked Frank Lampard in January, Thomas Tuchel has overseen a remarkable takeover of Chelsea’s fortunes and it was his greatest moment yet.
Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge with a solid CV after leading Paris Saint-Germain to the France title and to the Champions League final last season.
But few expected him to have such an immediate impact on underperforming Chelsea.
Mired in ninth place in the Premier League when Tuchel took the helm, Chelsea have won 16 of their 24 games under the German, moving up in the top four and reaching the Champions League and FA Cup finals.
Defensive excellence was a hallmark of Tuchel’s reign and once again he superbly organized Chelsea as they kept Real at bay and posed a sustained threat on the counter.
Thanks to Tuchel’s tactical excellence, Chelsea are in their third Champions League final and their first since winning the competition for the first time against Bayern Munich in 2012.
Tuchel has already orchestrated a win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals and a repeat in Turkey would crown an incredible first season.
Takeover for Werner
After an eventful first season at Chelsea, Timo Werner finally exorcised his demons with the goal that put Chelsea on track for the final.
An ever-growing litany of high-profile breaches had raised serious doubts over the decision to sign RB Leipzig’s Werner for £ 45million ($ 62million) last year.
Werner even received criticism on social media from the wife of Chelsea teammate Thiago Silva after his close effort was saved by Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the first leg.
It felt like another frustrating night for Werner when the German striker got unnecessarily taken offside before scoring Ben Chilwell’s low cross.
But, despite all of his problems this season, Werner refused to go into hiding and his honest effort was rewarded in the 28th minute.
N’Golo Kante slipped a pass to Kai Havertz and when his chip rebounded off the bar, Werner was perfectly positioned to grab the easiest goal of his career, heading for the empty net from practically on the line.
The 25-year-old’s 12th goal for Chelsea was only his second in his last 18 games.
It was also Werner’s first open-play Champions League goal since September 2019, but the wait was worth it as he finally became the King’s Road toast.
Flops de danger
Eden Hazard has helped Chelsea win the Premier League twice during his seven-year spell with the club, but the Real Madrid striker’s first return to Stamford Bridge was one to be forgotten.
Just making his 18th appearance in another injury-ravaged campaign, Hazard looked like the shadow of the player who dazzled Chelsea in blue.
When the 30-year-old left the Bridge in 2019, he was ranked among the best players in the world after scoring 110 goals in 352 games for Chelsea.
Real had to pay £ 89million to land the Belgian star, who was to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo as the new king of the Bernabeu.
Instead, Hazard became overweight for his first preseason with the club and suffered a steep decline.
Given the chance to turn the tale against his former club, Hazard was completely anonymous.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane stayed with Hazard for 89 minutes, but he produced just one shot on goal when his weak training was blocked by Edouard Mendy as Madrid pulled out with a moan.
© 2021 AFP