Chelsea defeated Real Madrid 2-0 in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday, clinching a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Timo Werner and Mason Mount scored in the first half to set up an all-Premier League final against Manchester City on May 29 in Istanbul.
AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Stamford Bridge clash:
Tuchel’s Midas Touch
Thomas Tuchel has overseen a remarkable revival in Chelsea’s fortunes since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January, and this was his finest moment yet.
Tuchel came to Stamford Bridge with a strong resume, having led Paris Saint-Germain to the French title and the Champions League final last season.
Few expected him to have such an immediate impact on Chelsea’s underwhelming performance.
Chelsea, who were in ninth place in the Premier League when Tuchel took over, have won 16 of their 24 games since then, climbing back into the top four and reaching the Champions League and FA Cup finals.
Tuchel’s reign has been marked by defensive excellence, and the Blues were once again superbly organized as they kept Real at bay while posing a constant threat on the counter.
Chelsea is in their third Champions League final, and their first since winning the competition for the first time in 2012 against Bayern Munich, thanks to Tuchel’s tactical brilliance.
Tuchel has already guided Manchester City to an FA Cup semi-final victory, and a repeat in Turkey would be the cherry on top.
Timo Werner finally exorcised his demons with the goal that put Chelsea on course for the final after a tumultuous first season at Chelsea.
An increasing number of high-profile misses had cast serious doubt on the decision to sign Werner for £45 million ($62 million) from RB Leipzig last year.
After his close-range effort was saved by Real keeper Thibaut Courtois in the first leg, Werner received social media criticism from the wife of his Chelsea teammate Thiago Silva.
When Werner allowed himself to be caught offside before slotting home Ben Chilwell’s low cross, it looked like it was going to be another frustrating night for the German striker.
Werner, despite his struggles this season, has refused to give up, and his honest effort was rewarded in the 28th minute.
N’Golo Kante slipped a pass to Kai Havertz, who was perfectly placed to score the easiest goal of his career when his chip rebounded off the bar.
The 25-year-goal old’s was only his second in his last 18 games for Chelsea.
It was also Werner’s first Champions League goal in open play since September 2019, but the wait was worthwhile as he became the toast of the King’s Road at last.
Eden Hazard twice helped Chelsea win the Premier League during his seven-year stay at the club, but his first return to Stamford Bridge was a disaster.
Hazard looked a shadow of the player who dazzled in Chelsea blue in only his 18th appearance of another injury-plagued season.
After scoring 110 goals in 352 games for Chelsea, the 30-year-old was ranked among the best players in the world when he left in 2019.
Real had to pay £89 million to sign the Belgian international, who was expected to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo as the new Bernabeu king.
Hazard, on the other hand, arrived at the club overweight for his first pre-season with the club and has since been on the most precipitous weight loss ever seen.
Hazard was completely anonymous when given the chance to change the narrative against his former club.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane kept Hazard on the pitch for 89 minutes, but he only had one shot on goal, a low drive that was blocked by Edouard Mendy, as Madrid bowed out with a whimper.