Chelsea beat favourites Manchester City 1-0 in Porto to win their second UEFA Champions League trophy, on Saturday. The achievement sounds even more remarkable given that they had sacked manager Frank Lampard in the middle of the 2020-21 season. Tuchel only became Chelsea boss in January 🤯#UCL #UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/ckz8TIWjZO — UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) […]
The Londoners had parted ways with former star and head coach Frank Lampard in January, earlier this year. His team went on a 17-game unbeaten run at the beginning of the season, but suffered a massive drop in form resulting in defeats to Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton, Wolves, and Leicester City.
The club’s Russia owner Roman Abramovich pulled the plug on Lampard’s tenure and decided to appoint Paris Saint Germain manager Thomas Tuchel as his replacement. Tuchel inherited a promising squad, especially with the club spending more than £200 million prior to the start of the season, by bringing in players like Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, and Edouard Mendy.
It was one of these summer reinforcements, in fact Chelsea’s record signing, Kai Havertz, who scored the winner in Porto. The breakaway goal came after he latched on to a Mason Mount pass in the 42nd minute, and turned around City keeper Ederson, before placing the ball into an empty net.
It was Tuchel’s second consecutive Champions League final after leading PSG’s runner-up camping last year, which ended in a defeat to champions Bayern Munich.
The German became only the second-ever Stamford Bridge manager to win the Champions Trophy after Roberto Di Matteo in 2012. Originally the assistant coach, Di Matteo had taken over responsibilities as caretaker manager following the dismissal of André Villas-Boas. The Italian had played more than 100 matches for Chelsea, but was forced to retire at the age of 31 following a horrific injury.
But Di Matteo enjoyed a dream start to his managerial career. After guiding Chelsea to an FA Cup win, he oversaw the defeat of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the final of the UEFA Champions League, in May 2012. The match had ended 1-1 after extra time, but Chelsea were crowned champions after a penalty shootout. It was the club’s first-ever UCL title, as they also became the first-ever team from London to claim the title.
This run earned Di Matteo a full-time role as the team’s head coach in the next season. He signed a two-year contract for the permanent role and followed it up with a promising start to the 2012-13 campaign. But they went through a poor run of results in the coming months, leading to their elimination from the Champions League in the group stages.
Di Matteo was sacked in November 2012.
But his managerial legacy continues to stand strong, with two major trophies in such a short spell. Thomas Tuchel finally followed into his footsteps, after nine years.
Chelsea had finished fourth in the English Premier League this season, and will be looking to challenge for the title next time around after what looks set to be another high-spending summer.
Images: Twitter/@ChelseaFC, @ChampionsLeague