Champions League: Havertz goal secures Chelsea title
Michael Da Silva | James Thorogood
May 29, 2021
Chelsea were crowned Champions League winners for the second time following victory over tournament favorites Manchester City. Germany’s Kai Havertz scored the only goal of an absorbing game in Porto.
Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea, Estádio do Dragão
Chelsea’s Kai Havertz couldn’t have chosen a better time to score his first Champions League goal. Time stood still as the Germany international collected Mason Mount’s through ball, saw his initial effort saved by City keeper Ederson before stroking the rebound into the empty net. It was the latest peak in the career of the 21-year-old from Aachen.
"This guy is going to be a superstar," Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta told BT Sport about Havertz before the trophy lift. "He’s given us the Champions League, he runs like crazy, his mentality is top. It's incredible. He will go on to be a top, top player. That’s why he deserves this."
Havertz is one of three German players in a Chelsea team coached by a Bavarian-born Thomas Tuchel. For Tuchel, it’s a personal triumph having turned Chelsea into European champions in less than six months. Against all the odds, the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz coach is a Champions League winner having lost last season’s final with PSG.
"We were determined to win this. We wanted to be the stone in their shoe," Tuchel said. "We encouraged everyone to step out and the second half was a pure fight. We would have liked more ball control and to be a bit more brave with the ball, but we still managed to create some opportunities on the counter-attack."
While it was Havertz's goal that secured the win, it was Chelsea's fighting qualities that Tuchel spoke of that got them over the line. N'Golo Kante and another German in blue, Antonio Rüdiger, were superb. Kante was Chelsea's engine, denying City's playmakers the space in which to operate. And Rüdiger, the man from Berlin who has repaid Tuchel's faith with a string of magnificent performances since January, was a rock at the back, stepping up after Chelsea lost their inspirational leader, Thiago Silva.
Tuchel dashes Guardiola's dream
For Manchester City, the Champions League is the competition that continues to evade them. The standout team through this season's tournament, Pep Guardiola's men have been favorites to lift the trophy since their first game in October. But on this balmy night in Portugal, City failed to hit those heights.
"It's been and exceptional season for us," Guardiola said, putting a brave face on the defeat. "It was a tough game, we were brilliant, but they are so strong. Maybe we will come back one day."
Kevin de Bruyne, the former Chelsea player and City's star man, was short of his influential best, kept quiet by the omnipresent Kante. And when De Bruyne left the game early, with a black eye and in tears after a hefty and cynical challenge by Rüdiger, he took City's hopes with him.
Guardiola hasn't won this trophy since his Barcelona team beat Manchester United at Wembley in 2011. The wait goes on for Guardiola, who leaves having been outwitted by the man whom he inspired.
As it happened:
FULL TIME! Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
Kai Havertz's first goal in Europe's premier club competition clinches Chelsea's UEFA Champions League title at the expense of Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.
22:56 - SO CLOSE!
Against QPR it was Sergio Aguero. Against Chelsea it was so close to being Riyad Mahrez but his shot goes wide. Was that the final chance? City haven't registered a shot on target all game.
22:53 - For the Bundesliga fans
22:50 - Heart. In. Mouth.
City are knocking on the door as Foden sees a shot blocked and Sandro Wagner has just made a prediction that we're going to extra-time on DAZN. SEVEN minutes of added time? Happily!
22:48 - Aguero's impact
A morale boost for the Citizens, but nothing tangible to show for it so far.
22:44 - Tuchel's time?
Last season's Champions League final ended in bitter disappointment for Thomas Tuchel at the end of a 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich with Paris-Saint Germain. He is now within 10 minutes of avenging that loss less than 12 months later. What a story for the man from Krumbach, a small town just west of Munich. He's fired up on the sidelines.
22:38 - One-way traffic
Unsurprisingly towards Chelsea's goal, but that Blue Wall we mentioned earlier is so far standing firm. Tuchel's already been on his knees after a missed chance and there are frought faces in the stands, but this is what football is all about. The emotions of the fans is the experience enhancer we've all missed so much.
22:34 - Kai is a king
The effortless grace with which Kai Havertz moves around a football pitch really is a joy to behold at times. What he just produced on the counter was magic and Pulisic should have just made it 2-0 to Chelsea. There are games in his Leverkusen career that broke him on the Bundesliga scene, tonight feels like the night he's truly made his breakthrough on the continental stage.
22:29 - From Dortmund with love
What a moment in the career of Christian Pulisic.
22:24 - A case for Timo Werner
His debut season with Chelsea will be remembered for a host of missed chances that were comedic as a neutral and infuriating as a Blues' fan. There are misses to point to tonight, but his work rate has been phenomenal and his run to open the channel for Mount to feed Havertz for the goal tore City's backline to shreds. The goals will come, but for now he's replaced by Christian Pulisic.
22:20 - There's still hope?
Manchester City have only failed to get on the scoresheet in two of their last 41 matches in all competitions. One of those was the 1-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.
22:16 - Short in-take of breathe
There's a clash as De Bruyne and Rüdiger challenge for the ball. You always worry when you see players with high hopes at the EUROs needing treatment. De Bruyne is the much slower to his feet and looked to be in tears when he did get there.
22:13 - Not unprecedented
Only five times in the history of Champions League finals has a side trailing at half-time come back to lift the trophy. The most recent side to pull off the feat were Real Madrid in 2014 when they triumphed over city rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time.
22:09 - Blue wall
But for a dreamy Ederson pass and a Kevin De Bruyne cut back to Phil Foden, Manchester City haven't been able to break down Chelsea's backline. How long until Guardiola calls upon the servives of Sergio Aguero?
22:06 - Second half begins
If the first half was anything to go by then this could shape up to be an all-time classic of end-to-end action with both teams going toe-to-toe. Chelsea are deserving of their lead and are executing Thomas Tuchel's gameplan to perfection, the question is can they maintain it for another 45 minutes?
HALF-TIME! Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
Kai Havertz couldn't have picked a better time or bigger occasion to open his Champions League account as his goal separates the sides at the break. Manchester City's hopes of claiming a first Champions League title have taken a hit, can they bounce back in the second half?
21:43 - GOAL! Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea (Havertz 42')
Where Timo Werner fails, Kai Havertz succeeds as he scores his FIRST EVER Champions League goal! He left Bayer Leverkusen to hit greater heights and he's potentially penned a fairytale ending to the first chapter of his Chelsea career on the grandest stage the continent has to offer.
21:40 - Silva's final woes
Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva is forced off injured after an awkward landing. That's a huge blow for the Blues.
21:38 - Gündogan's redemption
Ilkay Gündogan was part of the Borussia Dortmund that lost the 2013 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. He's come a long way since then to be a leading figure in City's midfield, but he's picked up the first booking of the game for a foul on Mason Mount.
21:32 - The pressing game
Chelsea are struggling to assert themselves right now and there are clear differences in how both sides are approaching their pressing. CIty have men around the ball hoping force an error, while Chelsea get players behind the ball to force their opponents to play through them.
21:28 - Rüdiger to the rescue
DAZN's co-commentator, former Bayern Munich striker Sandro Wagner reacting to a last-ditch challenge by Rüdiger to deny Phil Foden a clear-cut goalscoring chance: "For me he's the best German defender right now. We've got some good ones with Hummels and Süle, but the last few months Rüdiger's been a monster. I playern against him while he was at Stuttgart, back then he was very wild, now he's channeled it."
21:25 - Waiting for a breakthrough
Guardiola is cutting a frustrated figure on the sidelines. His side have had more of the ball, but it's Chelsea who have had the most promising moments. The intensity, the pace, the rivalry, the drama is all there with silverware on the line in Portugal.
21:20 - Football of the highest order
In a clash between two of the foremost tacticals minds in world football, there's a lot to take in. Guardiola has City set-up to patiently probe the free spaces with their possession play, while Chelsea are going quickly through the gears and looking to utilise Werner's pace. It makes for a fascinating spectacle of football being played at the highest level.
21:15 - Werner can't catch a break
Werner said pre-match that "this is the game the season will be judged on." A goal tonight and all his misses this season would be forgiven, if not forgotten. Unfortunately the script is following the same story as he miskicks one chance, fires another straight at Mendy before hitting the side netting with a third.
21:10 - Tight at the back
Manchester City and Chelsea possess the joint-best defensive record in the UEFA Champions League this season with just four goals conceded after 12 matches. Defence's have been on top so far.
21:08 - Probing opening
Timo Werner was expected to play through the middle for Chelsea, but it appears Kai Havertz has taken the lone striker role to allow Werner to work the right channel.
21:04 - The fans are back
Both clubs had an allocation of 6,000 tickets inside the Estadio do Dragao in Porto and they're making themselves heard. Nothing beats an authentic atmopshere and the up to 16,500 fans in attendance are making the noise of many more.
21:00 - Kick-off!
We're underway in the all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea. The biggest game on the European calendar, but who will be crowned continental champions?
Tuchel breaks new ground
Thomas Tuchel led Paris Saint-Germain to last season's final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern in Lisbon; he is the first man to take two different clubs to the European Cup final in successive seasons.
Gündogan bringing the experience
The vast majority of the players involved in tonight's final are experiencing a Champions League final for the first time. Ilkay Gündogan is the only member of the City squad who has previously played in the final. Having scored Dortmund's goal from the penalty spot in their 2-1 defeat by Bayern in 2013, he could become the fourth player to find the net for different clubs in the European Cup final. Velibor Vasović (Partizan 1966, Ajax 1969), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United 2008, Real Madrid 2014, 2017) and Mario Mandžukić (Bayern 2013, Juventus 2017) have all previously managed it.
Antonio Rüdiger, Chelsea's quiet leader
Defender Antonio Rüdiger is one of three Germans named in Thomas Tuchel's starting line-up for Chelsea. Berlin-born Rüdiger has spoken pre-game about the trust Tuchel has shown in him and having to deal with racism throughout his life.
Manchester City XI: Ederson — Walker, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko — Gündogan, De Bruyne, Silva — Foden, Mahrez, Sterling
This is the third all-English UEFA Champions League final, Chelsea having been involved in the first, when they lost on penalties to Manchester United in Moscow in 2008. Two years ago, Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.
Chelsea have recorded 68 wins against City, who have won 58 of the clubs' past meetings with 40 draws. Most recently, the Blues have been triumphant in three of the last four encounters.
Lowdown: Manchester City
Manchester City are vying for Europe's top prize for the first time in club history. For head coach Pep Guardiola, the clash in Porto is a chance to reclaim the Champions League title for the first time since 2011, having failed to add it to Bayern Munich's trophy cabinet during his three-year tenure before joining the Citizens.
Thomas Tuchel tonight features in back-to-back finals and, having lost to Bayern with Paris-Saint Germain in Portugal last season, will be hoping to go one better with a Chelsea side making their third appearance in the Champions League final.
Fun fact: Tuchel vs Guardiola
Tuchel had never beaten Guardiola as a coach before taking charge of Chelsea. His record against the Spaniard with Mainz and Dortmund was D2 L3 with two goals scored and 11 conceded. The most recent meeting before Tuchel's two wins against City this season came in the 2015/16 German Cup final, Bayern winning on penalties after a goalless draw in what was Guardiola's last match in charge prior to taking over at City.
From the coaches' mouth: Thomas Tuchel
"As a child, you dream of these matches. I don’t hesitate to say that Man. City and Bayern have been the benchmark in Europe this season and last season. We are trying to close the gap and the good thing is, in football, you can close gaps in 90 minutes."
From the coaches' mouth: Pep Guardiola
"I'm the happiest man in the world to be here. It’s a privilege, it's an honour. We're going to try and do our best. All we have to do is be honest with ourselves and try to win the game."