Robert Lewandowski and his supporting cast of attackers are ready to finish off English Premier League side Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. - © DFL
Robert Lewandowski and his supporting cast of attackers are ready to finish off English Premier League side Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. - © DFL
bundesliga

5 reasons Bayern Munich will beat Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League last-16

Bayern Munich hold a commanding 3-0 lead over Chelsea in their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie. bundesliga.com presents five reasons why the five-time European champions will finish the job on home soil...

>> Click here for the Bayern-Chelsea LIVE blog!

1) Robert LewanGOALski

Is there a better centre-forward in the world right now than Lewandowski? No, we thought not. Bayern's prolific Pole has just enjoyed his best-ever Bundesliga season - plundering a record 34 goals to win his fifth Torjägerkanone - to fuel his club's canter to an eighth successive league title, and he netted twice to help them lift the DFB Cup and complete a domestic double.

His six goals in that competition made him the leading scorer, and he has 11 in the UEFA Champions League, also a 2019/20 all-comers' best. That means he has scored 51 goals in just 43 competitive games this season - a breathtaking feat no-one else in Europe's top five leagues can boast of - at a clip of one every 74 minutes. That's compared to 124 for Lionel Messi, 115 for Ronaldo and 83 for Kylian Mbappe. Chelsea top scorer Tammy Abraham nets every 170 minutes.

Watch: How Robert Lewandowski has become the world's best No.9!

In the Champions League, it's a goal every 48 minutes for Bayern's No.9, which includes the fastest four-goal haul in the competition's history, coming inside just 16 minutes against Red Star Belgrade.

So far this season, only seven teams have been able to stop Lewandowski from scoring, while he also enjoys facing teams from London, with six goals in his last five games for Bayern against clubs from the British capital. Up against the leakiest defence in the top half of the Premier League (54 conceded), Lewy will be licking his lips.

2) The better supporting cast

While most defenders’ eyes naturally fall on Lewandowski, who is level with Karim Benzema in fourth place in the Champions League's all-time scoring chart, the players around him go about their work with astonishing German efficiency.

Gnabry is Bayern's second top scorer in 2019/20 with 20 – four more than Chelsea's leading scorer Abraham. In terms of assists, Thomas Müller’s season-ending tally of 21 wasn’t just a league record since detailed data collection began, but is more than double that of any Chelsea player in all competitions in 2019/20.

Bayern Munich's ridiculous array of attacking talent - including the likes of Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller - would scare any defence in Europe. - Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

While former Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic and Willian top the Chelsea standings with 10 and nine assists respectively, they are among just seven players to have five or more for last year’s UEFA Europa League winners. By contrast, there are 11 Bayern players, including Lewandowski, who have registered at least five across all competitions.

And those assists for the record German champions really do come from all over. Forwards Müller, Gnabry, Philippe Coutinho, Kingsley Coman and Ivan Perisic all have at least seven. Midfielders Joshua Kimmich (13), Leon Goretzka (10), Corentin Tolisso (five) and Thiago Alcantara (two); full-backs Alphonso Davies (eight) and Benjamin Pavard (seven); and centre-backs Jerome Boateng and David Alaba (two apiece) have also chipped in. Even goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has had a direct hand in a Bayern goal this term.

3) Neuer sweeping up

Haters out there will have written off Neuer after his foot injuries over the last few years, but the Bayern and Germany captain is proving them all wrong. His 15 clean sheets in the Bundesliga this past season were a league best, while only Paris Saint-Germain have conceded fewer Champions League goals at this stage.

The 34-year-old also stacks up very well to his Chelsea counterparts. Kepa Arrizabalaga has just seven league clean sheets, shipping eight more goals in four fewer games. The Spaniard has also made fewer saves (52) than Neuer (84) in the league and, just as crucially for a modern goalkeeper, averages fewer passes per game (28.3) than his Bayern counterpart (31.2).

Yet, while Neuer is the undisputed Bayern and Germany No.1 - if not the world's - Kepa was dropped by Lampard in favour of veteran Willy Caballero for a handful of games prior to the global lockdown, including the first-leg defeat in London.

At 38, the Argentine is more experienced than Kepa but also more of a traditional goalkeeper, not as good with his feet and less likely to come off his line. He is also far more prone to mistakes. While Kepa hasn’t made any errors leading to goals in his 66 Premier League games, Caballero has been at fault for two in 32 – and perhaps more famously a horrible attempted clearance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup that Ante Rebic smashed home in a 3-0 win for Croatia against Argentina.

In his long and distinguished career, World Cup winner and eight-time Bundesliga champion Neuer has made just 11 mistakes leading to a goal in his 249 league games for Bayern. For a goalkeeper who seems to spend most of his time playing as defender, reinventing how the game is played in the process, that is not bad.

4) Record-breaking form

Neuer's aforementioned 2019/20 assist fell in the DFB Cup as Bayern ran out 4-2 winners over Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen to claim their second successive domestic double.

A run of 26 competitive games unbeaten - including a German record of 17 wins in a row - puts them bang in frame to make it a treble in the Champions League. The record champions have hit 82 of their 143 goals across the 2019/20 campaign in that time, with only Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig preventing Lewandowski and Co. from finding the net.

In Europe, Bayern have racked up seven straight wins by an aggregate score of 27-5; six wins from six and a goal difference of +19 represented the best group-stage performance in Champions League history.

And just before Chelsea fans get carried away with delusions of ring rust, Bayern were arguably even stronger after Germany led the sporting world out of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown than before it. Hansi Flick's ravenous ensemble averaged 3.1 goals per game over the course of their 10-game romp.

Chelsea suffered three league defeats following the restart in England, and - despite securing Champions League qualification - they lost last Saturday's FA Cup final to Arsenal, just a week before their visit to the Allianz Arena. Not only were Lampard's men undone by a double from another ex-Dortmund star, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they lost Pulisic and captain Cesar Azpilicueta to injury, and both are now set to miss out against Bayern.

5) European and knockout pedigree

Although it’s been eight years since the 2012 Champions League final, there is certainly a sense of revenge in this clash for Bayern and their fans. If it weren’t for Chelsea and Didier Drogba, the Bavarians would have six European titles to their name instead of 'just' five.

To make the pain even greater, Chelsea’s shootout win – their only Champions League title – came at the Allianz Arena in the so-called 'Finale dahoam' as Bayern missed out on becoming the first team to win the trophy at home.

Jupp Heynckes’ side would go on to claim a fifth European crown the following season at Wembley against Dortmund as they became the first German team to win the treble, but the wound is still raw, especially with the news that the Allianz Arena will host the final again in 2022.

Bayern Munich's Champions League pedigree is unrivalled in Germany, and now they want their first title since 2013. - imago/Laci Perenyi

That was only Chelsea's second final appearance, but Bayern have made it to 10 of the showpiece events. And Flick’s side will be eager to underline their continental pedigree again in the last 16, particularly after last season’s defeat to Jürgen Klopp’s eventual winners Liverpool, which ended the club’s run of seven straight appearances in at least the quarter-finals.

Their record at this stage, though, is overwhelmingly positive, progressing in 11 of 15 appearances in the last 16. Chelsea, on the other hand, have advanced from this round in just eight of their 13 ties, and have fallen at this hurdle in their last three Champions League campaigns.

Moreover, Bayern have lost only one of their 25 UEFA ties in which they won the first leg away. They also steamrollered Tottenham Hotspur 10-3 over two games in the groups, and Arsenal 10-2 in the 2016/17 last 16.

No team does capital club punishment quite like Bayern.