It’s finally arrived, and it is beautiful.
Chelsea has released the first part of their series “Porto Uncovered”. The series takes us through the journey on the road to Champions League victory in Portugal last season.
The behind the scenes insight is narrated by Thomas Tuchel, Kai Havertz, and Antonio Rudiger. It’s beautiful to see the parallels between the fans and the players along the way. Where the players were anxious, the fans shared that exact feeling. Where the players began to believe, the fans could feel it despite the cognitive disconnect from not being allowed into the stadiums.
Highlighting the beautiful bond that bought the Chelsea players closer together on the pitch, the growth of self-belief within the camp, the episode touches on it all.
The road to Porto differed from that of Munich but the memories share the same value for us. Here are a few things I spotted that paint a picture of why the Blues went all the way to win a second Champions League trophy.
Wouldn’t last season have been an amazing time for Amazon Prime to feature Chelsea in their “All or Nothing series”? I wanted to see the ins and outs of the season. All the backroom team talks, the fights, the celebrations, the lot.
The series starts off asking both Rudiger and Havertz if they’d believed Chelsea would win the Champions League back in January. Both players said exactly what I was thinking, “no”.
The players shared the same expectations with the fans. Sitting in 9th place by the time Thomas Tuchel arrived, not many believed that a trophy would be the outcome of such a difficult season.
“Sometimes you need one little spark.” Petr Cech
One thing is for sure, no one expected Thomas Tuchel to come in and change the entire dynamic in the camp. He became that spark for the Blues which reignited the fire in the team. Though several fans believed the camp was lost for desire, the boss claimed that the players at the time of his arrival were “open-minded”.
That’s more than I can say for myself. At the time of Tuchel’s arrival, it had already looked like mission impossible. The Blues were eight points behind Liverpool who were fourth – the climb back seemed unfeasible.
Reliving some of the best Champions League moments from last season, the series unpacked the feeling surrounding into the Atletico Madrid round of 16 clashes. From going into the fixture as the underdogs to the suspense around Olivier Giroud’s goal. Flagged as offside before being ruled in our favour by VAR, Kai Havertz knew that this was the “game-changer”.
The belief that anything could happen was restored after the 1st leg, the confidence was channelled into the second leg and the rest was history.
The consensus after that match was “if we can crack them, then we can do it against anybody” as explained by Petr Cech. The statement of confidence was backed up by Rudiger with his thrilling words;
“If you have a taste of blood, sometimes you want more.”
The quarter-final against Porto seemed to be a breeze for the Blues. A sense of togetherness and comradeship was created. The team became better and better.
Cech gave a sweet comparison between the 2012 and 2021 teams. He found similarities in the togetherness of the group and their preparations which created the atmosphere in the two very different teams.
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Where there was luck on Chelsea’s side in 2012, it was the pure talent that helped send Chelsea to the final in 2021. They were just simply better than their opponents.
The day of judgment truly came against Real Madrid.
The European giants.
Tuchel made sure that the idea of playing against the history of Europe’s most successful club was freed from his teams’ mindset. Knowing their vulnerabilities despite having World Class players in their locker, the Blues played from strength to strength.
“As a kid, you dream of coming to the Champions League Final, and then you realise that you are there. It’s an incredible feeling, I cannot explain it” Kai Havertz
Again, the team of unity and togetherness was sung by Havertz as he recalled the events that took place in Madrid. Despite conceding a goal to Karim Benzema’s wicked right foot, the belief didn’t die.
The second leg was the moment that Rudiger believed that they could do it. And so did several other Chelsea fans.
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