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Thomas Tuchel celebrates Chelsea's victory over Real Madrid
Tuchel becomes the first coach to reach the Champions League final in back-to-back seasons with different clubsImage: Glyn Kirk/AFP

Champions League: Chelsea to face City in all-English final

May 6, 2021

Chelsea will meet Manchester City in the second all-English Champions League final in three seasons. Thomas Tuchel masterminded another big win for Chelsea, whose German striker Timo Werner scored the opener.


Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid, Stamford Bridge
(Werner 28', Mount 85')
Chelsea win 3-1 on aggregate

This may be far from a vintage edition of Real Madrid, but Thomas Tuchel must take considerable credit for Chelsea's transformation from dysfunctional under-achievers to Champions League finalists in a little over three months.

Since landing in West London following his sacking by Paris Saint-Germain, Tuchel has now beaten Zinedine Zidane, Pep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp, Diego Simeone — twice — and Carlo Ancelotti without conceding a single goal. Guardiola's name on that list will give pause for thought to those who believe Manchester City's crowning as Champions League winners is but a formality.

"I am very happy that we have achieved this, I am very grateful and thankful to have this opportunity," Tuchel told DAZN. "You can never be ahead of plan as a manager and as a player, it does not exist.

"It's a fantastic achievement and we want to go all the way, and that means arriving in Istanbul wanting to win."

Timo Werner heads in the only goal of the game for Chelsea vs Real Madrid
Werner has been directly involved in 22 goals in all competitions this season — more than any other Chelsea playerImage: REUTERS

Read more: Chelsea vs Real Madrid — A tale of two figures

Chelsea have made huge strides since Tuchel was tasked with bringing out the best of a set of players that were assembled at great expense last year, including German pair Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. Havertz has flourished under Tuchel and while Werner is still struggling for confidence, is starting to repay Tuchel's confidence in him. Antonio Rüdiger has also forged a great understanding with Thiago Silva, and Chelsea's improved defense has probably been Tuchel's greatest single success.

With two finals ahead of them and a place in next season's Champions League close to secured, Tuchel's appointment has been little short of a masterstroke.

Tuchel's faith in Werner pays off

Like in Madrid, Chelsea were better, faster and stronger than their jaded opponents. Over the two legs, only striker Karim Benzema emerges with any credit from a team who have too many players looking at their best days through the rearview mirror. Madrid-bound David Alaba will add some steel, but there's no hiding from the fact that it's not only their stadium in need of a rebuild.

Chelsea were never behind in the tie and when they took the lead, it wasn't a surprise. Kai Havertz's deft chip came back off the bar and Werner, even with his crisis in self-belief, couldn't miss his header from a meter out. Real Madrid never got to grips with Havertz or the irrepressible N'Golo Kante, and when Havertz headed against the bar again, the next goal was always going to be Chelsea's. It duly came five minutes from time courtesy of Mason Mount.

Chelsea will head to Istanbul as underdogs on May 29. Man City hit new heights with their victory over PSG and have been the standout team in England and on the continent this season. But if anyone knows how to beat Guardiola and City, it's Tuchel.

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