‘Havertz ignites as Chelsea reach peak of possibilities’

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May 7, 2021
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    Kai Havertz and Mason Mount celebrate Mount's goal against real MadridHavertz (left, with Mason Mount) signed a five-year contract with Chelsea in September 2020

    Kai Havertz's Chelsea career has been a slow-burner but the gifted young German has demonstrated impeccable timing to ignite just as their season reaches a peak of possibilities.

    Havertz arrived at Chelsea last summer from Bayer Leverkusen, in a club record deal that could be worth around £71m, amid the sort of fanfare befitting one of the most coveted young forwards in Europe.

    The 21-year-old's languid style meant that for much of his time under Frank Lampard – the man in charge when he was signed – he looked ill-at-ease, off the pace and marginalised.

    And Havertz's hopes of making an instant impact were further hampered when he contracted Covid-19 in November, recounting later that he spent "seven to 10 days just in my bed and everything was hurting".

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    Those early months looked a distant memory on Wednesday. Against Real Madrid, Havertz demonstrated what all the fuss was about with a majestic combination of poise, elegance and power, as Chelsea completed a thoroughly deserved win over ageing opponents to confirm an all-Premier League Champions League final with Manchester City in Istanbul on 29 May.

    Yes, Havertz could have been more clinical but class oozed from every pore and a couple of physical challenges showed he has all the assets to be the complete package. One in particular sent a message loud and clear.

    As a long ball was played out of defence in the second half, Havertz found himself in direct competition for possession with one of the game's most intimidating sights, the ruthless old warrior himself Sergio Ramos.

    Ramos, with four Champions League winner's medals among his many honours for club and country, has made his career winning this sort of duel, his reputation often intimidating opponents.

    Not Havertz.

    It was almost symbolic that Havertz startled Ramos by knocking him aside to take possession.

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    The exchange drew shouts of delight from Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who has helped Havertz show his real self at Stamford Bridge since he replaced the sacked Lampard in January, and roars from the home contingent on the touchline.

    Havertz also showed finesse to go alongside his fire when he took a ball from Jorginho in Real Madrid territory and with sleight of foot and superb vision, not only noticed compatriot Toni Kroos out of the corner of his eye but proceeded to demonstrate glorious awareness to caress the ball between his bamboozled opponent's legs to start another attack.

    In the analysis of this game, marks must be taken off for Havertz's failure to score but even then those contributions showed his growing confidence and danger.

    There is a nonchalance about Havertz that might be taken by detractors for lack of interest but it is a sign of natural gifts that are now showing themselves.

    We will arrive in Istanbul with a clear focus to win the Champions League final – Tuchel

    He showed audacity and confidence, a little too much perhaps, to try a chip when he received N'Golo Kante's pass in the 28th minute but his effort bounced off the bar for Timo Werner to open the scoring so all's well that ends well.

    There was some surprise that Christian Pulisic was left on the bench but Tuchel clearly recognises that Havertz is running hot after his two goals against Fulham on Saturday. He could have had more here, sending a towering header on to the bar and drawing a fine save from Real keeper Thibaut Courtois.

    Whereas Havertz's early body language betrayed struggle, there is an urgency to his stride now as he showed on many occasions here. And for such a tall man he moves very smoothly when he goes through the gears.

    He has a delicate touch with both feet, hangs in the air well as he uses his height and there is a sense there will be plenty of goals to come. Like his running style, Havertz is a smooth operator when everything is in synch.

    Kai Havertz touch mapHavertz's 53 touches, the second highest of any Chelsea player, came all across the width of the pitch

    Havertz was a potent link between midfield and attack, knitting many moves together with Kante, keeping Ramos occupied as he and the rest of this proud but fading Real Madrid side looked its age when faced with Chelsea's youth and energy.

    Even the biggest signings need time to adjust to new surroundings, especially when they are young and accompanied by such a lavish price tag, but Havertz is starting to play like he feels at home and this is the sort of breakthrough performance that will only draw more from him.

    Lampard – and what emotions must he have felt as he saw the side he helped build add a Champions League final appearance to an FA Cup final date with Leicester? – never wavered in his faith in Havertz, but the arrival of Tuchel seems to have come at the perfect time for the player.

    There will be bumps along the road but Havertz now has the biggest European club stage to show what he is all about in Istanbul before taking his place in the Germany team at the Euros.

    He will have a major part to play in what may yet prove to be a glorious repeat of the 2012 season when the FA Cup and Champions League came to Stamford Bridge.

    If Havertz's Chelsea career had a stuttering start, the engine is now purring.

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    961 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • A

      Comment posted by AndyofKingston, at 06:57 6 May

      Leeds fan….. I actually like this Chelsea team!16417

      • G

        Reply posted by GazCFC, at 07:45 6 May

        "Leeds fan….. I actually like this Chelsea team!"GazCFC replied: Chelsea fan… i like the way Leeds play. How times have changed in 30 years14112

      More replies (17)

    • J

      Comment posted by jimmy777, at 07:20 6 May

      Would it not be sensible to have final at Wembley15517

      • L

        Reply posted by Love Man City, at 07:41 6 May

        "Would it not be sensible to have final at Wembley"Love Man City replied: Absolutely, unnecessary and risky travel to another country. But UEFA is known for such amusements.1125

      More replies (24)

    • 1

      Comment posted by 18tennents85, at 06:46 6 May

      Well done Chelsea from a Rangers fan …hope Arsenal and Man Utd go through tonight too 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧16528

      • Removed comment

      More replies (15)

    • N

      Comment posted by NeilAndy109, at 07:22 6 May

      It’s only a few months ago that idiots were branding him a ‘ flop ‘. He’s only 21 and some players need time to adjust. If you can’t see what the fuss is about within about 5 mins of watching him then football probably isn’t for you… he’s a class act. Pleased for Werner too, offers so much and works so hard, he’ll also come good1144

      • G

        Reply posted by GazCFC, at 07:41 6 May

        "It’s only a few months ago that idiots were branding him a ‘ flop ‘. He’s only 21 and some players need time to adjust. If you can’t see what the fuss is about within about 5 mins of watching him then football probably isn’t for you… he’s a class act. Pleased for Werner too, offers so much and works so hard, he’ll also come good"GazCFC replied: Agree about Havertz but not with Werner. His decision making isn’t great on goal, we need Haaland in that position and we’ll be unstoppable.1173

      More replies (26)

    • H

      Comment posted by Had better days, at 06:50 6 May

      Upvote if you think we can beat City!
      Come on Chelsea!!!19082

      • T

        Reply posted by Twobobmate, at 07:04 6 May

        "Upvote if you think we can beat City!Come on Chelsea!!!"Twobobmate replied: Sorry son don’t think it’s gonna happen.3671

      More replies (14)

    • P

      Comment posted by PB for certain, at 07:16 6 May

      By far and away the most improved Chelsea player is Rudiger. Last night he was top notch. Intriguing final to come for us neutrals.1137

      • B

        Reply posted by bobby smith, at 07:59 6 May

        "By far and away the most improved Chelsea player is Rudiger. Last night he was top notch. Intriguing final to come for us neutrals."bobby smith replied: Agree but luckily tuchel came because frank rarely gave him a game3810

      More replies (8)

    • I

      Comment posted by iconoclast, at 09:25 6 May

      Hazertz, Pulisic and Mount catch the eye but the most important factor in Chelsea’s revival has been Kante’s return to full fitness after the best part of two years. The forwards get the headlines while Kante wins games.891

      • M

        Reply posted by MrBlueBurns, at 09:27 6 May

        "Hazertz, Pulisic and Mount catch the eye but the most important factor in Chelsea’s revival has been Kante’s return to full fitness after the best part of two years. The forwards get the headlines while Kante wins games."MrBlueBurns replied: Yeah, good point. He is Jorginho and Kovacic rolled into one.322

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    • D

      Comment posted by Dubbus, at 07:40 6 May

      What I liked about Chelsea and Man City this week was that they had so many options up front.

      Could have been pulisic Abraham Giroud zielich and others and city were the same with the likes of Aguero sterling torres just as some of the options.

      Think this is a problem for Liverpool over reliant on mane firmino and Salah

      Great performance by both clubs and deserving finalists885

      • B

        Reply posted by blue, at 07:45 6 May

        "What I liked about Chelsea and Man City this week was that they had so many options up front.Could have been pulisic Abraham Giroud zielich and others and city were the same with the likes of Aguero sterling torres just as some of the options. Think this is a problem for Liverpool over reliant on mane firmino and SalahGreat performance by both clubs and deserving finalists"blue replied: or chelsea could have been unlucky and be stuck with inept lampard going no where fast1657

      More replies (30)

    • 7

      Comment posted by 7 8 9 19 25, at 07:26 6 May

      Fair play to Havertz. In his first game I saw him pass the ball out of play under no pressure and thought we’d signed another Torres. Now he’s adapting he is looking the class act I’d hoped we’d signed. Also praise to Mendy and Kante. Unbelievable last night624

      • D

        Reply posted by Doug, at 09:04 6 May

        "Fair play to Havertz. In his first game I saw him pass the ball out of play under no pressure and thought we’d signed another Torres. Now he’s adapting he is looking the class act I’d hoped we’d signed. Also praise to Mendy and Kante. Unbelievable last night"Doug replied: He scored so many goals in Germany being played forward. Lampard didn’t utilise him properly. He’ll most likely become the player that Gotze didn’t222

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    • T

      Comment posted by The Gorg, at 07:08 6 May

      “Chelsea forward ignites as Blues’ season reaches peak of possibilities.”
      Human combustion is still quite rare so my condolences to his family.526

      • P

        Reply posted by Phainopepla, at 07:26 6 May

        "”Chelsea forward ignites as Blues’ season reaches peak of possibilities.”Human combustion is still quite rare so my condolences to his family."Phainopepla replied: lol85

      More replies (3)

    • T

      Comment posted by TC, at 06:51 6 May

      A way to go yet but there definitely are encouraging signs. Positive comments about Chelsea are so rare from the BBC that there must be some truth in this!474

      • L

        Reply posted by LondonsFinestClub, at 20:49 6 May

        "A way to go yet but there definitely are encouraging signs. Positive comments about Chelsea are so rare from the BBC that there must be some truth in this!"LondonsFinestClub replied: Possibly because they do something could.threaten their Verdict on City’s crusade. I think Chelsea under Tuchel made them sit up and wonder, they couldn’t, could they?20

    • M

      Comment posted by maineroad8, at 07:26 6 May

      Congratulations Chelsea, a superb performance. I’d have preferred our chances against RM but no doubt final is between two in form teams.
      Let the best blues win!444

      • B

        Reply posted by Blue view, at 14:35 6 May

        "Congratulations Chelsea, a superb performance. I’d have preferred our chances against RM but no doubt final is between two in form teams. Let the best blues win!"Blue view replied: I would have preferred our chances against PSG, tbh.60

    • B

      Comment posted by bobby smith, at 07:58 6 May

      Sacking frank turned out be a great decision.what tuchel has done In the space of 3 and a half months is amazing he got them to 2 finals and could do the double401

      • T

        Reply posted by The Barmy Army, at 09:03 6 May

        "Sacking frank turned out be a great decision.what tuchel has done In the space of 3 and a half months is amazing he got them to 2 finals and could do the double"The Barmy Army replied: Question you all have to ask when a new man takes over.Were the players under achieving with the old man or over achieving with the new?Tuchel is in his 4th job in 6 years and his last Club has just gone out to your opponents.Be patient until the honeymoon period is over811

      More replies (10)

    • D

      Comment posted by DanWood, at 07:26 6 May

      Havertz in ‘English media jump to conclusion about superb young player who might need time to adjust to new league and country’ shock.362

      • B

        Reply posted by Blue Baby, at 07:47 6 May

        "Havertz in ‘English media jump to conclusion about superb young player who might need time to adjust to new league and country’ shock."Blue Baby replied: The Covid really knocked the stuffing out of him but it’s been a joy to see him blossom over the last few weeks271

    • A

      Comment posted by Another Fickle Fan, at 08:46 6 May

      I thought Lampard was alright, and would get there eventually, however, seeing what Tuchel is doing with the exact same squad shows just how out of his depth Lampard was. This is why managers need to cut their teeth properly before taking a big job. Hopefully he learns from this and comes back a better manager.322

      • Z

        Reply posted by Zoomy, at 09:12 6 May

        "I thought Lampard was alright, and would get there eventually, however, seeing what Tuchel is doing with the exact same squad shows just how out of his depth Lampard was. This is why managers need to cut their teeth properly before taking a big job. Hopefully he learns from this and comes back a better manager."Zoomy replied: Most great managers are great from the offset. He’s not bad and could get better but not everyone can be top notch.72

      More replies (1)

    • P

      Comment posted by Peter , at 08:21 6 May

      Man United fan , enjoyed watching Chelsea last night well done , but you should have battered Madrid , that is my only other comment , but well done again252

    • P

      Comment posted by paul, at 07:58 6 May

      Would it not make sense to play the final now in the UK instead of making the clubs travel to Istanbul ???254

      • S

        Reply posted by Steel Falcon, at 07:59 6 May

        "Would it not make sense to play the final now in the UK instead of making the clubs travel to Istanbul ???"Steel Falcon replied: No.1121

      More replies (6)

    • S

      Comment posted by Sheriff, at 07:02 6 May

      Well, this season just proves why the Premier league is the best in the world. But haters in Europe just want to bring the glory and style of the league down. It’s just not going to happen.
      Congrats to Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and hopefully,Arsenal for flying the flags high👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾289

      • T

        Reply posted by twinprime, at 07:07 6 May

        "Well, this season just proves why the Premier league is the best in the world. But haters in Europe just want to bring the glory and style of the league down. It’s just not going to happen.Congrats to Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and hopefully,Arsenal for flying the flags high👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾"twinprime replied: The Premier League is seldom the best in the world – and the reason it is often hated is because of the dire football played. As several of my South American friends say, it is football for donkeys.962

      More replies (19)

    • C

      Comment posted by CastorTroy, at 07:34 6 May

      Havertz is turning out to be some player, Bravo203

      • L

        Reply posted by LondonsFinestClub, at 20:54 6 May

        "Havertz is turning out to be some player, Bravo"LondonsFinestClub replied: Seems to be a class act in the making along with Pulisic, Christensen and James. These are just young men and already at this level.10

    • T

      Comment posted by therealronaldo, at 06:41 6 May

      Come on you Blues, sheik rattle and roll Citeh in the final!269

      • S

        Reply posted by SammyValenteno, at 16:04 6 May

        "Come on you Blues, sheik rattle and roll Citeh in the final!"SammyValenteno replied: Aa absolute nonsense that the final is going ahead in Turkey, a country currently in a hard lockdown with covid19 spiking.
        Sending 8000 fans out to Istanbul to bring the virus back to the UK in the middle of a global pandemic is madness.
        Is UEFA/ Europe still trying to extract horrible revenge on the UK for Brexit???
        Surely, the final should take place in Old Trafford, Villa Park or Wembley.43

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