Chelsea turned a season of turmoil into the ultimate triumph as Kai Havertz’s ice-cool finish sunk Manchester City 1-0 to swipe Champions League glory in Porto.
Mason Mount’s inch-perfect assist stunned domestic double-winners City at the Estadio do Dragao, as Chelsea claimed their second Champions League title to etch boss Thomas Tuchel’s name into the Stamford Bridge annals.
Kevin De Bruyne suffered a facial injury on a wretched night for the stellar Belgium star, who will be an immediate injury doubt for the European Championships.
Pep Guardiola fielded a surprise pivotless midfield in a bid to catch out Tuchel and the Blues, but the move backfired and City paid the toughest price.
When Chelsea paid Bayer Leverkusen £70 million for Havertz last summer eyebrows were raised in some quarters, but Chelsea were convinced of the 21-year-old’s pure talent.
And now the classy forward has ended a testing campaign that included a battle with Covid-19 with a goal of the utmost quality – on the highest stage and at the perfect time.
In just 124 days Tuchel has transformed Frank Lampard’s muddled men into mean tactical machines – and champions of Europe.
Guardiola has spent five years honing City for European dominance, but that frustrating wait goes on.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss last won the Champions League in 2011, the year before Chelsea’s first European triumph.
Guardiola will keep grinding, but Tuchel has quickly built up something of an Indian sign over City’s Catalan coach.
Chelsea’s third win over City in six weeks clearly ranks most highly, but also cements Tuchel’s arrival as a genuine tactical master.
The 47-year-old arrived from Paris St Germain in January with a fiery reputation, but has reinvented himself as a taskmaster with a joyful spirit and a tendency to tease the best from his players.