Football

Chelsea v Bayern Munich: Super Cup review

Lukaku's decisive penalty was saved by Neuer (©GettyImages)
Lukaku's decisive penalty was saved by Neuer (©GettyImages).

Chelsea and Bayern Munich's heavily contested Super Cup clash would long be remembered; for it is not often that the Champions League winners have to face an equally good Europa winners.

The match was more than the Cup though. Chelsea seeking to flag their terror on the European circuit as they faced against the almighty Bayern, who themselves were looking to avenge the 2012 heartbreak.

Bayern were heavily pipped to dominate the match, and claim a worthy trophy. And although they did dominate possession (like any Pep Guardiola team), Chelsea walked off with their heads held high.

The Blues' had dominated the first half of the match: thwarting down the attacks of a dangerous attacking line, cracking the Bayern defensive wall more often than not, and then defended a one goal lead for over 27 minutes, with a man down.

There was only one major shock in the team sheet for Chelsea, as captain John Terry was replaced by the injury-returning David Luiz.

Terry had previously missed the Champions League 12 final due to suspension, and the Europa Final due to injury, and this omission would have hurt him further; but it was for the better.

Luiz rose to the occassion, and played his heart out, infact almost winning the match with a close range header later on, which Neuer managed to keep out. Luiz also managed to get under Mandzukic's skin, as his physical play dominated the Croatian.

Terry's introduction as a late substitute in extra time, was perhaps a poor call in hindsight. The 5 men Chelsea wall, seemed panicky towards the dying seconds, and left a big door for Martinez to drive into. 

Cahill played another perfect match, as the Englishman played second fiddle to Petr Cech along the Goal line. Branislav Ivanovic also, had very impressive tussles with Ribery and Mandzukic, and the Serbian came out strong more often than not. 

The other interesting thing in the Squad was Juan Mata starting on the bench. The Spaniard's alleged move away, would gain further steam with this.

However, Mata's absence was justified by Chelsea's playing strategy. Just like Mourinho has insisted, Chelsea were aiming for lightning paced reflex counters, that Mata's methodical and strategic build up could not cater. Both of Chelsea's goals and all the counters were from these fast paced returns.

The first goal, took all of 13 seconds from Ivanovic's throw in, Hazard and Schurrle's dribbling, and finally Torres' fire.

If Chelsea do retain Mata, it could give rise to two playing strategies for the season: the Hazard-Oscar-Schurrle-Torres lightning attacks, and the Hazard-Mata-Lukaku build up play.

Lampard and Ramires started in the Midfield, Ramires playing the holding role and responsible for Interceptions, while Lampard was more forward playing around the box; something the Blues are accustomed to now.

Ramires' sending off was a critical blow for Chelsea. They were forced to take off the impressive Schurrle and replace him with Obi Mikel immediately, to secure the midfield.

Not only did this thwart Chelsea's counters, but also exposed the midfield further, as Mikel lacks Ramires' intercepting abilities.

But it was a necessary play, as Chelsea were looking to hold off the Germans than attack forward. Jose Mourinho probably chose Mikel ahead of Essien because of Mikel's very defensive and near the box approach, while Essien plays more in the middle.

Ahead of them, Hazard, Oscar, and Schurrle started behind the £50million man Torres. Schurrle was outstanding in the first half, as he tormented Dante and created most of Chelsea's chances.

Alongside Hazard, the German was instrumental in Chelsea drawing first blood, as they both broke free from the MF and catered Torres' close range volley.

Oscar, as required by Mourinho, played a more CM role and was heavily involved in the MF, but still moving forward often enough to trouble the Bayern defence.

The timid Brazilian could have won it for Chelsea in the second half, but he failed at close range to counter in on a Schurrle pass, that rose after a slip from Dante.

Oscar has displayed such coarseness, all through last season, and would be something Mourinho needs to look into. While his game play is commendable, Oscar has time and time again failed to deliver in crunch situations, and made some poor misses, that are unacceptable at this level.

After last week's poor showing against Mourinho said that he had used the clash as an experience gainer for his budding forwards. Although, most considered this a lateral excuse, Mou now stands tall. His budding talents: Hazard, Oscar, and Schurrle, kept a solid Munich wall on their toes, and almost clinched it for their team.

Mourinho let Chelsea's budding Lukaku take the critical final penalty, nothing can speak more about Chelsea's belief in youth.

Facing against Europe's strongest team, Chelsea's new blood proved their mettle as they took the fight to Munich, and almost conquered Europe.

Petr Cech was impressive as always, as he kept out a fiery Ribery from scoring, more than once. He was pivotal in keeping out the second Bayern goal for long, as he made amazing saves from close range. If not for Cech, Bayern would have equalized earlier, and perhaps even gone ahead in extra time. 

The Chelsea fans and bosses would be disappointed for not winning the Cup, but they have now proved their ability to the World, and established themselves for the future tournaments. 

There are a lot of pointers from the clash, and would cater in bolstering up the squad ahead of the European fixtures. 

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Bayern Munich
Bundesliga
Premier League

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