Thomas Tuchel said that Chelsea needed a “fantastic script” to beat Real Madrid and advance in the Champions League quarterfinals, and for a hot second, it looked like the football gods had indeed written one — into the stars, if you will.
They had even gone to the lengths of setting up and ruling out a potential winner from Marcos Alonso to give one Timo Werner a chance to be the hero. If this were Hollywood, we would’ve decried the clichéd banality of it all. The man who has struggled so mightily for goals since arriving two years ago, but never gave up or lost faith, stepping up in the big moment on the biggest stage to knock Chelsea into the next round.
Alas, the football gods were not done with their daytime soap opera-level plotting and there were more twists in the tale to come, turning our would-be miracle into stark disappointment. For Timo, who watched most of what would unfold after his goal from the bench, it must’ve been even more frustrating to see it all slip away from us in the end.
“When I scored I thought we are through with this.
“We nearly gave no chances to Madrid [but] there was one moment in regular time when we were not like we were the whole game and Madrid have the quality to score against you and they showed it for the 3-1. I think it was a brilliant goal, a brilliant cross from Modrić, hard to defend.’
“[We] had a brilliant game and we had 10 minutes to go through to make a miracle come true, so it is very disappointing.”
That said, and as others have reflected upon as well, the performance last night underlines once again just how good we can be when we put our minds (and bodies) to it — just as the first leg underlined that we cannot expect to have results handed to us just for showing up.
The last couple games have also reminded us that Werner, who has been linked steadily with a summer exit, can still play a very crucial part in this team, just as he did last season even if his goal-totals haven’t lived up to expectations (though he now has 3 in his last two to give him 10 on the season in all competitions, with 5 assists to go along with them).
“To come back after a 3-1 defeat in the home game was very good for us, we had everything that we needed at 3-0 up, we had the chance to go through.
“[We] tried everything in normal time and in extra time but the home game made a difference because this was nearly a perfect performance from us. [The first leg] was a problem because it put us in a very difficult situation, but also on the other side it was the thing that brings us for the second game to this level because we know that we have to step up and we have to give everything.”
-Timo Werner; source: Chelsea FC
We can make things better by turning this palpable disappointment into victory over Crystal Palace in Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal.