Even Didier Drogba would have struggled to dig Chelsea out of this hole. There was no miraculous comeback on their return to the scene of their greatest triumph and for all the talk about Frank Lampard’s players taking inspiration from beating Bayern Munich in front of their own fans in the 2012 Champions League final, cold reality intervened once the German side set about finishing the job they started at Stamford Bridge six months ago.
It always was fanciful to think that this Chelsea side had it in them to burgle Bayern here again. They will be in the Champions League again next season but this campaign is over at last. They remain a work in progress, even though Lampard can be proud of finishing fourth in his first year in charge, and instead it is Bayern who head to Lisbon.
Bayern, who face Barcelona in the quarter-finals, are going to take some stopping on this evidence. Robert Lewandowski scored twice and the German champions, who were 3-0 up from the first leg, cruised through 7-1 on aggregate.
It soon became clear that Chelsea have a long way to go before they are capable of living with Europe’s elite. Bayern’s passing was too good, their movement too intelligent and their pressing off the ball too intense. The gulf in class was glaring from the start and even though Bayern were playing their first competitive game since beating Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup final on 4 July, they did not take long to scrub out any prospect of an unlikely turnaround.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, teams as formidable as Bayern are not in the habit of taking their eye off the ball. Hansi Flick’s side immediately forced Chelsea to retreat, worked them over and pounced in the seventh minute, Serge Gnabry given space to drift in from the right and send Lewandowski through on goal. Willy Caballero brought the striker down and although the flag initially went up for offside, Ovidiu Hategan awarded a penalty after a VAR review, giving Lewandowski the chance to extend Bayern’s aggregate lead with his 46th goal of the season.
Caballero, starting in goal in place of Kepa Arrizabalaga again, was booked for the foul and Chelsea resigned themselves to a draining night. The visitors were without César Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho, Billy Gilmour, Pedro, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, forcing Lampard to name six academy prospects on the bench, and did not have the tactical discipline or defensive quality to contain Bayern, who threatened again when Thomas Müller fired inches over from the edge of the area.
Bayern were dominant. Alphonso Davies kept motoring forward from left-back, giving Reece James a torrid time and ensuring that Callum Hudson-Odoi spent most of his time chasing back, and the second goal arrived when Mateo Kovacic dawdled near his own area, allowing Lewandowski to knock the midfielder off the ball, wait for support to arrive and angle a clever pass to his right for Ivan Perisic, who was unmarked. Perisic, starting in place of the injured Kingsley Coman, finished easily.
Chelsea, too slow to scent danger, had been caught once again, bolstering the argument that they require defensive reinforcements. After all, they conceded 54 league goals this season and although there were changes after last week’s defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup final, with Antonio Rüdiger dropping to the bench, Lampard’s switch to 4-3-3 gave Bayern too much room.
Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma struggled as a central defensive pairing, Emerson Palmieri was rusty after being handed a rare start at left-back and N’Golo Kanté, back in the team after a long absence with a hamstring injury, was off the pace in defensive midfield.
At least there were flickers of resistance from Chelsea as Bayern slowed the pace. Hudson-Odoi, keen to impress against the team that almost signed him last year, had a fine goal disallowed for offside against Tammy Abraham, who did pull one back when Manuel Neuer pushed a cross-shot from Emerson into his path.
The positive for Lampard was that Chelsea were battling, going close to an equaliser at the start of the second half when Mason Mount burst clear before firing straight at Neuer. Yet danger lurked at the other end. Chelsea were leaving space at the back and when Thiago Alcântara snapped in to win possession, Zouma had to throw himself in the way of Davies’s goalbound shot.
In the end the only scare for Bayern came when Jérôme Boateng fell injured after retrieving a long ball. The defender was down for a while and eventually had to make way for Niklas Süle.
Yet Bayern were relentless. They extended their lead when Corentin Tolisso, on as a substitute, scored from close range and there was still time for Lewandowski to score his second of the night, proving once and for all that Chelsea were out of their depth.