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27 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM

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Bayern closing in on quarter-final

AFP, London
Bayern closing in on quarter-final
Bayern Munich's striker Serge Gnabry (R) celebrates with striker Thomas Mueller (L) after scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champion's League round of 16 first leg football match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London on Tuesday. AFP photo

Serge Gnabry fired Bayern Munich to the brink of the Champions League quarter-finals as the German's double inspired a superb 3-0 rout of Chelsea in the last-16 first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Gnabry had tormented Tottenham Hotspur with four goals in Bayern's 7-2 victory in north London earlier this season and the former Arsenal winger returned to the English capital to push Chelsea to the brink of elimination. The 24-year-old's time with Arsenal was a disappointment and he even flopped during a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion.

But he has been reborn with Bayern and his two goals in the space of three minutes left Hansi Flick's side within touching distance of the last eight.

Robert Lewandowski got Bayern's third before Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso was sent off in the 83rd minute.

Chelsea will need another Munich miracle in the second leg on March 18 to overturn the deficit at the Allianz Arena, where they famously beat the German club in the 2012 Champions League final.

“I have a lot of friends here. A lot of them were in the stands and I think they were giving me good power,” Gnabry told BT Sport of his London goal streak.

“Three goals should give us a lot of confidence. But we need to be prepared for the second leg and we can't take it serious enough.

“We saw last season with Liverpool beating Barcelona, we know we have to be careful and focus.”

This hasn't been a vintage year for Bayern, but they have been energised since the exit of disliked boss Niko Kovac and outclassed Chelsea in all phases.

None of the previous six teams to have won all of their Champions League group games have lifted the trophy that season, but five-time winners Bayern will fancy their chances of breaking that duck if they can maintain this form.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admitted his young team were “underdogs” against a club of Bayern's vast European experience and his pre-match prediction proved spot on in a chastening defeat.

“The performance was poor and sometimes you have to be brutally honest. They outclassed us in every department and it's quite sobering,” Lampard said.

“I'm disappointed we couldn't do more against them. We have to take it on the chin and work towards getting back to the levels we want to be at.”

Bayern set the tone when Thomas Mueller forced a save from Willy Caballero inside the first minute after stealing possession from Jorginho.

Flick had warned Chelsea that Lewandowski was in the “form of his life” and the Bayern striker escaped Andreas Christensen for a stinging shot that Caballero blocked with his face.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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