Germany enjoyed a comfortable start to life under Hansi Flick as they ran out 2-0 winners over minnows Liechtenstein in World Cup qualifying Group J. 

Following a trophy laden 18-month stint at Bayern Munich, Flick replaced long-serving Germany coach Joachim Low after Euro 2020. 

Liechtenstein's goal lived a charmed life throughout on Thursday, with it taking until the 41st minute for Timo Werner to break the deadlock. 

The scoreline would have reflected Germany's dominance if not for Liechtenstein's goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel, yet Leroy Sane capped a fine individual display with a terrific strike to ensure there was no chance of a shock comeback. 

Two of Flick's former Bayern players combined in the fourth minute, Sane teeing up Joshua Kimmich, who saw his on-target strike blocked. 

Sane swiftly crafted another chance – Buchel making a fine stop to deny Werner – before Robin Gosens headed Kimmich's wonderful cross against the left-hand upright. 

Germany's opener finally came with their 12th attempt of a one-sided contest, Werner slotting home from Jamal Musiala's flick after a brilliant run from the Bayern youngster.  

Buchel somehow denied Germany a second before the hour, making a fantastic double save to keep out close-range efforts from both Gosens and Ilkay Gundogan. 

Gosens finally seemed set to get his goal with a blistering strike that was destined for the top corner, yet Daniel Kaufmann's brave block summed up a stoic defensive effort from Liechtenstein. 

Their resolve was finally punctured again in the 77th minute by Sane's brilliance, however, as the winger set himself up with some neat footwork before drilling a low finish across Buchel, emphatically making sure of the victory for new boss Flick. 

 

What does it mean? Easy does it for Hansi 

The short trip to Liechtenstein was never likely to present too many issues for Germany, though a stunning defeat would hardly have been the way Flick wished to start his reign. 

Germany, who are second in the group, barely got out of first gear, so there cannot be too many judgements made based on this display. Still, Flick will want his team to be more clinical in future. They ended the game with 85.3 per cent possession and had 30 attempts, albeit just seven were on target, so cannot truly be pleased with only the two goals. 

Buchel keeps things respectable  

With no points and 12 goals conceded from their first four games, there is no doubting Liechtenstein's place as the whipping boys in the group. 

Yet their goalkeeper can come out of this match with his head held high. Buchel made four saves, including a truly excellent stop from Gundogan in the 58th minute – a chance which registered an expected goals (xG) value of 0.51, making it the second-best opportunity of the match after Werner's opener. 

Sane returns to form in style 

It has been a difficult start to the season at Bayern for Sane, who was substituted off at half-time in Julian Nagelsmann's first competitive home game in charge last month. 

However, playing in his preferred position on the left, the former Manchester City winger had plenty of joy on duty for his country. He created a game-leading four chances, all of which were missed by his team-mates, before slamming in a deserved goal for himself. 

What's next? 

Germany host Group J leaders Armenia in Flick's first home game at the helm, while Liechtenstein face Romania, with both matches taking place on Sunday. 

Germany enjoyed a comfortable start to life under Hansi Flick as they ran out 2-0 winners over minnows Liechtenstein in World Cup qualifying Group J. 

Following a trophy laden 18-month stint at Bayern Munich, Flick replaced long-serving Germany coach Joachim Low after Euro 2020. 

Liechtenstein's goal lived a charmed life throughout on Thursday, with it taking until the 41st minute for Timo Werner to break the deadlock. 

The scoreline would have reflected Germany's dominance if not for Liechtenstein's goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel, yet Leroy Sane capped a fine individual display with a terrific strike to ensure there was no chance of a shock comeback. 

Two of Flick's former Bayern players combined in the fourth minute, Sane teeing up Joshua Kimmich, who saw his on-target strike blocked. 

Sane swiftly crafted another chance – Buchel making a fine stop to deny Werner – before Robin Gosens headed Kimmich's wonderful cross against the left-hand upright. 

Germany's opener finally came with their 12th attempt of a one-sided contest, Werner slotting home from Jamal Musiala's flick after a brilliant run from the Bayern youngster.  

Buchel somehow denied Germany a second before the hour, making a fantastic double save to keep out close-range efforts from both Gosens and Ilkay Gundogan. 

Gosens finally seemed set to get his goal with a blistering strike that was destined for the top corner, yet Daniel Kaufmann's brave block summed up a stoic defensive effort from Liechtenstein. 

Their resolve was finally punctured again in the 77th minute by Sane's brilliance, however, as the winger set himself up with some neat footwork before drilling a low finish across Buchel, emphatically making sure of the victory for new boss Flick. 

Romelu Lukaku can turn Timo Werner into the goal machine Chelsea always thought the German would become, according to Thomas Tuchel.

The Blues' £97.5million investment in Lukaku, a player they offloaded to Everton for £28m seven years ago, has been one of the most eye-catching transfers of the window.

After starring with Inter and Belgium, Lukaku looks to be in the prime years of his career, ready to transfer his own scoring form from Serie A to the Premier League.

He could make his second Chelsea debut at Arsenal on Sunday, and head coach Tuchel sees Lukaku bringing his influence to bear across the Chelsea frontline, including spurring on Werner to improve on his ho-hum first year in English football.

"This can be a big upgrade for him, to have Romelu, who likes to be in the centre of the pitch and to fight physically with defenders," Tuchel said.

"He can create spaces for Timo, first of all from a position a bit wider than he used to play for us in the last season, to play around Romelu who is like the reference as a number nine, a reference for the attack.

"Hopefully, it gives Timo the space to play around him, to feel a bit more freedom, make it a bit easier to find the dangerous spaces and start scoring again."

Werner scored just 12 goals for Chelsea last season, failing to get close to an expected goals (xG) total of 21.07 that reflected the quality of his chances.

Those goals came at a rate of one every 318.83 minutes, and his shot conversion rate of 10.17 per cent fell well short of expectations.

At the same time, however, his assists total of 11 far exceeded an expected assists (xA) total of 4.48, and he finished the campaign as a Champions League winner, meaning it was not all bad for the former RB Leipzig forward.

The only player from Europe's top five leagues to score at least 10 goals in all competitions but have a worse conversion rate than Werner was, perhaps surprisingly, Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne (9.43 per cent).

Lukaku's 30 goals for Inter came from a healthy 24 per cent conversion rate, while higher up the list Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund netted 41 goals with a 31.54 per cent strike rate. Haaland was one of the strikers linked with Chelsea before the club moved for Lukaku.

Behind the forwards, Chelsea have a Ballon d'Or contender in midfielder Jorginho, who followed Champions League glory by helping Italy win Euro 2020.

Jorginho and Liverpool's Fabinho were the only players in the Premier League last season to have a passing accuracy of at least 89 per cent, while winning 50-plus tackles and making 40-plus interceptions.

Seven penalties from Jorginho also came in handy for Chelsea, and Tuchel, who arrived after a spell in charge of Paris Saint-Germain in mid-season, has been highly impressed.

"I think Jorgi is a strategic player," Tuchel said. "He can play advanced, he knows what to do in ball possession, he can imagine what's going to happen one or two passes ahead.

"He knows where to help out in short and longer distances, when to switch the play and when not to. He has a good sense of rhythm and, if you watch him separately, in isolation, he lacks maybe the pure physical ability that makes him the number one candidate to be the number six in the Premier League, you'd think, but once you have him in a structure he is very well organised in his game, organises all the environment around him, which helps him, then he can show his true abilities in controlling the rhythm of a game.

"On top of that too, he is a top guy. He is funny, he has a big smile on his face every single day. You can have chats with him, have a laugh every single day with him, because he's up for it. He is in love with this game."

Tuchel said Chelsea found "momentum" last season, which carried them to their season-ending success, describing them as "a real team with exceptional spirit".

Now a Premier League title is the obvious target, and Tuchel says continuing success will only come through "consistency and the daily process".

"We will not lose focus by putting expectations on people's shoulders. We have high expectations ourselves; we need to live up to those," said the former PSG boss. "Once we lower our levels, we could lose every single game in the Premier League. That is the reality."

Thomas Tuchel joked new signing Romelu Lukaku will score 50 or 60 times before the end of the year, but the Chelsea coach expects an impact beyond his goals.

Lukaku could make his second Blues debut against Arsenal on Sunday, having returned to Stamford Bridge in a £97.5million transfer from Inter.

Tuchel was asked on Friday if Lukaku could be "the missing piece" for his Chelsea side, who won the Champions League last season but were guilty of profligacy in front of goal.

While Lukaku scored 24 times for Inter in Serie A, converting 25 per cent of his shots, Timo Werner was wasteful in his first season in the Premier League.

From chances worth 11.5 expected goals, Werner netted just six times for a hugely underwhelming 7.6 per cent conversion rate.

Werner was still heavily involved in Chelsea's play, though, contributing eight assists while carrying the ball 130.6 metres and being involved in 4.9 shot-ending open play sequences per 90 minutes.

And Tuchel believes Werner is one of the players who can profit from the arrival of Lukaku, who was similarly influential at Inter with 11 assists as well as 5.2 shot-ending open play sequence involvements per 90.

Asked how many goals Lukaku might score this season, Tuchel told a news conference: "50, 60, honestly, until winter. No, we expect an impact. Let's see where the impact is.

"Of course, we expected goals – we should not talk around it – and he himself expects goals. Why? Because he delivered everywhere he played. This is why he's here.

"Then we will see how far the impact goes. He is a big personality in the dressing room.

"I'm absolutely convinced he will have a very positive impact on Timo Werner, on Kai Havertz, on Christian Pulisic, the guys who play with him, around him. He will open spaces and attract the focus from the defenders.

"Let's see how we will measure it in the end, but that we demand and he demands goals from him is obvious."

Asked to compare Lukaku to another striker, Tuchel replied: "I think he's pretty unique.

"He has physicality and an ability to play with his back to goal, but for me he is the strongest when he is in the half-open, open position even, in transition, to use his immense speed.

"I think with this kind of physical power and at the same time being so fast and so hungry and like a true goalscorer in his characteristic, it's for me a new and unique experience."

These are attributes Arsenal will likely have to deal with on Sunday, with Tuchel saying: "We are hoping he is on the pitch for Sunday and things look like it."

N'Golo Kante and Hakim Ziyech are also both back in training.

Romelu Lukaku will look to inflict more pain on wounded Arsenal when he makes his second Chelsea debut on Sunday.

Lukaku is set to be unleashed on the Gunners for a Premier League return at the Emirates Stadium after completing a record £97.5million (€115m) move from Inter.

The Belgium striker played a massive part in Inter's Serie A triumph last season and is back at Stamford Bridge hunting more trophies.

While Chelsea started their Premier League season with an emphatic 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, the Gunners suffered a 2-0 derby defeat to newly promoted Brentford.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform previews the big showdown in North London, with the Blues out for revenge after Arsenal did the double over them last season.

 

LUKAKU CAN FIRE AGAINST GUNNERS DESPITE POOR RECORD

Lukaku is relishing the challenge of taking the Blues' supposedly cursed number nine shirt.

If his record against Arsenal is anything to go by, a debut goal may be unlikely for the prolific frontman.

The former Everton and Manchester United striker has scored only twice in 15 Premier League appearances versus with Gunners, although he returns to England seemingly at another level.

Lukaku terrorised defences in Serie A and has been consistently outstanding at international level, the Red Devils' all-time leading goalscorer netting four times in five Euro 2020 games

Brentford exposed Arsenal's defensive frailties in the first game of the season and Lukaku could cause them all sorts of problems.

 

WERNER COULD CASH IN

Timo Werner came in for plenty of criticism for poor finishing in his first season in England, although the Germany international's pace and intelligent movement still made him a real handful.

Thomas Tuchel said Lukaku's arrival is good news for Werner, whose 29 touches in the win over Palace was the fewest by any Chelsea outfield player.

The presence of the powerhouse Lukaku and his ability to hold the ball up can help Werner thrive this season if they are both given the nod from the start.

Werner scored only six Premier League goals last season and provided eight assists, missing 18 of what were deemed by Opta to be big chances and falling short of the 11.5 expected goals (xG) tally.

He should not be short of opportunities with Lukaku leading the line and can silence any critics in the 2021-21 campaign.

 

GUNNERS NEED A CUTTING EDGE

Arsenal have only been beaten in three of their past 14 meetings with Chelsea but they will have to show a marked improvement from a lacklustre display against the Bees.

Strike duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were absent for that loss, with the club confirming on Thursday both players had tested positive for coronavirus.

Lacazette will not face the Blues and Aubameyang is to be assessed ahead of the game.

Mikel Arteta's side played 15 Premier League games without at least one of Aubameyang or Lacazette - both linked with moves ahead of the transfer deadline - last season, winning nine, drawing four and losing two.

With the pair both in action, they won nine of 23 matches, lost 11 and drew three.

Folarin Balogun failed to hit the target with his three shots in his first Premier League start at Brentford, with Nicolas Pepe only testing David Raya once with his four attempts.

Arsenal must show more of a cutting edge if they are to get one over on their London rivals again and Chelsea will be wary of Kieran Tierney, who created six chances against the Bees.

Timo Werner has thanked Chelsea supporters for rallying behind him after being told to "get out of the club" by a fan during an open training session.

Chelsea's players were put through their paces at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with those in attendance also getting a first glimpse of striker Romelu Lukaku up close since he rejoined the club last week.

But the event was somewhat overshadowed during a question-and-answer session with fans when one urged Werner to leave the club.

The comment was made over the PA system and prompted an angry response from others in the stands.

Werner was later inundated with positive messages on social media and expressed his gratitude to those who had reached out.

"Thanks for all the love and support I received today, Blues Fans! Really appreciate it," he posted on his personal Twitter account.

Werner has been a regular target of criticism during his 14 months at Chelsea, despite reaching double figures for both goals and assists last season.

That made him the first Blues player since Eden Hazard in 2018-19 to do so, though his 12 goals in 51 games was a substantial drop-off from the 34 managed in 45 appearances for RB Leipzig in the previous campaign.

Werner also endured a rather underwhelming start to the new Premier League season last weekend as he had just 29 touches of the ball during the 3-0 win against Crystal Palace, which was the fewest of any Chelsea outfield starter.

Record signing Romelu Lukaku says he has returned to Chelsea as a more “complete” player.

Chelsea spent a reported £97.5million to re-sign the striker, who previously joined as an 18-year-old from Anderlecht in 2011, from Inter.

Lukaku enjoyed spells with West Brom, Everton and Manchester United before impressing at Inter with 24 goals in Serie A last term to secure their first title in 11 years.

The 28-year-old spent two seasons in Serie A, notching 64 goals across all competitions as he quickly became Antonio Conte's main man in attack.

"I just feel more complete," Lukaku told the club's official website on Monday when asked to compare the difference between his two arrivals at Stamford Bridge.

"I’ve tried to master all the facets that a striker needs and I just want to keep improving on the small details all the time and keep improving on my strengths as well.

"It’s not like I’m a new player coming in and not quite knowing what to expect. I know the league, I’ve scored a fair amount of goals here but the past is the past and now we have to look forward.

"I’m a new version of that player from before. I’ve evolved and the team that I’m joining is a very strong team so now we just have to prove it on the pitch by challenging for the Premier League."

While Chelsea were without Lukaku on Saturday, but cruised to a 3-0 win in their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.

Timo Werner touched the ball just 29 times in 90 minutes – the fewest of any Chelsea outfield starter – but Thomas Tuchel admitted said the game Lukaku's arrival is good news for the former RB Leipzig man.

From Tuchel's appointment until the end of last term, the Blues only netted 38 goals across all competitions, a figure hampered by Werner converting just 7.59 per cent of his 79 top-flight attempts, while also finishing only five of his 23 'big' chances..

Lukaku, in comparison, ranks fourth for shot conversion in Europe's top five leagues since joining Inter in August 2019, scoring 24.2 per cent of chances that have come his way.

Lukaku could feature with Werner for the trip to Arsenal on Sunday and the Belgium international spoke of his excitement over working with Tuchel.

"The conversation was really clear from him [Tuchel], that he wants me to be a presence and a leader in the team," Lukaku continued. "I have to just use all my abilities to make sure I can help the team as much as possible.

"I’m a leader but I’m also more of a gel person, making sure that everybody feels comfortable and confident. That’s the way I lead.

"I like the system that we play and I’m very flexible. I can play as a two or by myself and I’m used to the system because it’s what we play with the Belgian national team so I don’t need much time to adapt.

"It’s just knowing the strengths of my team-mates in important positions and knowing what we do off the ball, then I can do the rest."

Romelu Lukaku's arrival at Chelsea is good news for Timo Werner and Chelsea's other attacking players, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea spent a reported club-record fee of £97.5million (€115m) to re-sign Lukaku from Inter this week, adding to Tuchel's options in the final third.

The 28-year-old was not included in the squad for Saturday's Premier League opener, with Werner instead leading the line for Chelsea.

Despite the Blues easing to a routine 3-0 win against Crystal Palace, it was a largely frustrating day for Werner as he managed only one attempt at Stamford Bridge.

Former RB Leipzig man Werner also had just 29 touches of the ball across his 90 minutes on the field, which was the fewest of any outfield Chelsea starter.

Lukaku's arrival has only increased the competition for places up top this term, but Tuchel can see the Belgian getting more out of Werner this season.

"I think the arrival of Romelu will help Timo a lot," Tuchel told Sky Sports. "He takes responsibility and will take some off Timo, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.

"It gives us more variations. We can play with two strikers or go with a front three. The arrival of Romelu is good news for Timo."

Asked if Lukaku will be ready to start next week's trip to Arsenal, Tuchel added: "He escapes isolation on Monday, has a full week to prepare and should be on the pitch."

Saturday's victory at Stamford Bridge was Chelsea's eighth in a row against Palace, sealed thanks to goals from Marcos Alonso, Pulisic and Trevoh Chalobah.

Academy product Chalobah was making his first Premier League start for the Blues, having also featured from the beginning in Wednesday's Super Cup win over Villarreal.

At 22 years and 40 days, he is the second youngest Chelsea player to score on his debut in the competition after Paul Hughes (20y 274d) versus Derby County in 1997. 

And Tuchel believes the instant impact made by Chalobah, the brother of Chelsea title winner Nathaniel, proves there is a route to the first team for up-and-coming players.

"He produced two fantastic performances and played almost every minute in pre-season," Tuchel said. "He is a humble guy from the academy and was so, so good today.

"He plays with so much confidence and has so many good behaviours on the pitch. It was a pretty perfect afternoon for him. 

"You saw how they celebrated with him and these are the stories we love about football.

"In this game, in an exciting league with players from abroad, there is still place for homegrown talent at our club and other big clubs."

Chalobah, who spent the past three seasons out on loan, fired past Vicente Guaita with a long-range shot to round off the scoring for Chelsea in front of their returning fans.

The youngster has been with Chelsea since the age of eight and is glad to have taken full advantage of his opportunity to impress under Tuchel.

"It is a dream for a boy like me being here and to play for my home club is unreal," Chalobah added. "As I was getting closer to the goal I thought I might as well shoot.

"I didn't know the ball went in. I didn't know what to do. I was over the moon.

"I have been training with the team in pre-season and the manager said I was playing and I was ready.

"I was surprised by the Super Cup game too and the work has paid off. I have taken the opportunity with both hands."

Thomas Tuchel's transformation of Chelsea's defence was the key to their stunning turnaround in fortunes following Frank Lampard's dismissal, according to former Blues midfielder and assistant head coach Eddie Newton.

Lampard was sacked on January 25 after a run of just two wins in eight Premier League games left Chelsea ninth, 11 points off the summit. 

Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel was swiftly appointed and oversaw an impressive second half of the season, culminating in a stunning 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday, Kai Havertz scoring the decisive goal shortly before half-time. 

Tuchel also sealed a top-four finish for Chelsea and guided them to the FA Cup final, although they ultimately lost that to Leicester City. 

Lampard and Tuchel were both in charge for 30 games across all competitions in the 2020-21 campaign, with the Blues conceding just 16 under the German compared to 31 in their former manager's games. 

And Newton, who played for Chelsea between 1990 and 1999 and had spells as assistant head coach in 2012 and 2015-16, is in no doubt the success is down to Tuchel's work on remodelling the backline. 

"Frank wanted to be on the front foot and the team was fundamentally in his personality," Newton told Stats Perform.

"He's a very offensive-thinking person, which leaves gaps at the back and towards the end they were getting punished on a regular basis. What Tuchel has done is put right the defensive side.

"He's also brought back senior players into the fold that were not in favour under Frank. Seniority brings stability and more nous about how to get through games when you're struggling. He brought that in.

"He changed the formation by playing three defenders at the back. It became multi-faceted.

"It's been fantastic stuff since he's come in. He's grabbed the bull by its horns and put down the foundations of what he wants to do.

"He's giving clear, concise information to everyone. Getting the results that he has, the players have bought into him. You can see the fight and that comes from the belief the coach has instilled into that team."

Tuchel once again chose Timo Werner to lead the line against City despite the Germany international's struggles in front of goal this season. 

He arrived from RB Leipzig last June for a fee in the region of £45million (€50m) with a reputation of being one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.

Werner scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig in 2019-20, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in total.

He has not been able to scale the same heights in his maiden campaign in English football, though, the 25-year-old scoring 12 times in 52 appearances across all competitions. He finished the Premier League season with a shot conversion rate of just 7.59 per cent.

While Newton is impressed with Werner's work ethic, he believes Tuchel will need to sign an established central striker for the 2021-22 campaign, with Chelsea having been linked to Harry Kane and Erling Haaland.

"He hasn't played with a number nine," Newton said. "Werner's work rate, even though he's not been clinical in front of goal, is what he admires and I'm sure his team-mates do as well. 

"He's willing to commit for the team. He's selfless, unlike other strikers, and works immensely hard for the team and that's where their defending starts from. It makes it easier for the team to defend.

"It's going to be interesting to see what he does next season. They can't continue without a number nine. Havertz is not a nine and won't be happy playing there. Werner is not a natural number nine; he likes to come in off the left and right. 

"It's going to be interesting to see how Tuchel addresses that situation. If they bring in a number nine, where do you put Havertz and Werner?"

Chelsea forward Timo Werner admits to having mixed emotions as he approaches the conclusion of the "worst and unluckiest season" of his career.

The Germany international joined Chelsea from RB Leipzig last June for a fee in the region of £45million (€50m) with a reputation of being one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.

He scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig in 2019-20, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in total.

Werner has not been able to scale the same heights in his maiden campaign in English football, though, the 25-year-old scoring 12 times in 51 appearances in 2020-21.

However, Werner has also contributed 15 assists and is the first Chelsea player since Eden Hazard in 2018-19 to both score and assist 10 or more goals in a single season.

And while the former Leipzig man accepts more will be required of him next season, he is keen to take some positives from the 2020-21 campaign, which concludes with Saturday's Champions League final against Manchester City.

"In terms of scoring and missing chances, it was the worst season, but in the end I still have 27 goal contributions," he told The Telegraph.

"I think I'm the first in our team for that, so it was not everything bad.

"A lot of people's expectations for me outside the club but also inside were very high because of my goalscoring record. I also assisted many goals last year in my old club.

"But I think the main reason why they brought me here in the club is to score and maybe at the end 12 goals and six goals in the Premier League, that's not good enough. 

"You have to say that I have 12 goals and 15 assists or something like that in every competition and 27 goal contributions – that's not so bad in what's maybe my unluckiest season.

"It is also maybe my worst season I've had for many years. If I'm scoring next season, hopefully, maybe people will become happier with me."

Werner has gone on runs of 13 and 14 matches without scoring for club and country at various points this season.

During that most recent barren streak, which ended with a winning goal against West Ham last month, Werner says he started to lose faith in himself.

"I had these two or three games after the international break where I missed a lot of chances and that was in my head. After this my confidence was gone," he said.

"It was like a period where in my head I was going crazy because I missed those chances."

Werner's shot conversion rate of 7.59 in the Premier League this term was substantially lower than the likes of Edinson Cavani (29.41), Gareth Bale (28.95) and Alexandre Lacazette (28.89), who led the way among forwards.

Chelsea have been linked with a number of high-profile strikers to lead their line from next season, but Werner insists he has no intention of moving on during the transfer window.

"I don't think about leaving the club this year, for sure not, and also for the next year," he said.

Timo Werner acknowledged he could not have too many complaints despite again rueing his luck as he played a key role for Chelsea without scoring in their 2-1 win over Leicester City.

Just four days on from losing to the Foxes in the FA Cup final, Chelsea leapfrogged their opponents into third at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues retain control of their fate in the race to qualify for the Champions League, a competition in which they will play this season's final later this month.

Werner will no doubt have a big role to play in the showpiece against Manchester City, but his personal fortunes showed little sign of turning in this match.

Before Antonio Rudiger's opener, Werner had two goals disallowed – one for offside, the other for handball – and a big penalty appeal waved away.

The striker did eventually win a spot-kick, a league-high fifth of the season, that Jorginho dispatched, meaning Kelechi Iheanacho's response counted for little for Leicester.

But Werner still only has six goals in the Premier League.

Although the Germany international's finishing is a concern, with his chances worth 11.24 expected goals producing shots with a value of just 8.55 expected goals on target (xGOT), there has been an element of misfortune, as the player suggests.

The 2.55 difference between his xGOT total and goals tally indicates opposition goalkeepers performing above their expected level.

"I think the first half particularly was the picture of the whole season for me up to now," Werner, whose 27 offsides rank joint-fourth in the top flight, told Sky Sports.

"I was, every time, close but at the end not really close. I think for me maybe [it was] the unluckiest season I have ever had and will have maybe, because it can't be worse.

"For example, the offside, okay the 10th time, I don't know how close it was, then a clear penalty for us. Of course I was surprised [it wasn't given] because for me it was a clear penalty.

"And then the first one, I want to make a header and I get a little push and put my arm out and then the ball goes exactly against my arm.

"I didn't know [it would be ruled out] because I felt a touch on my hand but didn't realise how it was. You see it on the picture that I get a little hit from behind and then my arm goes forward and it touches.

"Unlucky the whole season. When you have a season like this and you are so unlucky and you still in the Champions League final and maybe reach the Champions League next year, all good."

Christian Pulisic admitted to being "very frustrated" at being left out of Chelsea's starting line-up for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg with Real Madrid.

The United States international scored a crucial away goal for the Blues in last week's first leg but was named among the substitutes for the return fixture at Stamford Bridge.

He again made his impact known, however, by setting up a goal for Mason Mount 18 minutes after being introduced from the bench in the 2-0 win, which saw Chelsea through 3-1 on aggregate.

"I'm very frustrated," Pulisic, who has struggled with injuries this term, told CBS Sports. "There's not much else to say. I wanted to play from the beginning, as I always do.

"I've had to continue to prove myself over and over again. But, as always I reach out to God and he gives me strength. With that behind me, nothing can stop me really."

A look at the Opta stats shows Pulisic has a right to be frustrated, having now scored and assisted a combined four goals in the Champions League in nine appearances this term.

Only Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner have been directly involved in more (both six) - in eight and 11 games respectively.

For comparison, Mount - who has been superb for Chelsea this season - has three direct goal involvements in 10 Champions League games, while Kai Havertz has two from 11 respectively.

Focusing on the Premier League, meanwhile, Pulisic has four goals and one assist in 23 appearances this term, just 14 of those being starts.

Pulisic's average of a 0.26 goals per 90 minutes is slightly better than Havertz's return of 0.25 and behind only Giroud (0.5) and Tammy Abraham (0.52) among Chelsea's attackers. Werner, for context, averages 0.23.

The 22-year-old also performs better when it comes to chances created per 90 minutes in the English top flight when compared to Havertz - 1.37 to the German's 1.07.

But Pulisic still ranks some way below Hakim Ziyech, who has created 2.54 chances per 90 minutes this season and will also perhaps feel that he should be starting more often.

Mount (2.68) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (2.71) lead that particular metric, incidentally, which only highlights just how many options Thomas Tuchel has available in that zone.

One area Pulisic struggles in comparison to his attacking rivals is passing accuracy in the opposition half - 80.95, which is lower than Havertz's 84.3, Mount's 85.45 and Hudson-Odoi's 85.65. ​

The American's win rate when starting games also does not make for good reading.

The Blues have won 13 and lost just two of the 20 league games Pulisic has not featured from the beginning this term, compared to four wins and five losses in the 14 games he has been included in the XI.

Chelsea average 1.8 league goals with Pulisic in their starting line-up, as opposed to 1.3 without, while their average goals against rises from 0.6 to 1.4 when he starts.

Tuchel ultimately knows best when it comes to his team selection - and he is backed up by the possibility of a Champions League and FA Cup double - so Pulisic will simply have to keep proving himself if he is to hold down a regular starting spot.

This past year or so has done very little for our basic grasp of time.

Don't leave the house for a week, miss a couple of Zoom quizzes and what even are days?

Time and how easily or readily it passes depends on individual perception – our stresses, worries and hopes at that given moment.

Between Chelsea forward Kai Havertz hitting the Real Madrid crossbar in Wednesday's Champions league semi-final and the ball plopping down onto Timo Werner's head, a little under two seconds passed.

It's nothing really, but how they must have dragged for Werner. So many things to flash through his mind's eye. All soundtracked by a klaxon of "OH GOD, OH GOD, YOU CAN'T MISS… DON'T MISS! ARRRGGHHH!"

He might have thought of how coolly he linked with the effervescent N'Golo Kante in the build-up to Havertz's impudent dinked effort.

Kante negotiated Madrid's seasoned midfield with nimble precision and was one of Chelsea's many outstanding players on the night.

Casemiro and Toni Kroos will not want to think of the France international for some time after this, but the number seven on his blue shirt scampering around and away from them might be a hard image to shift.

Werner would create a glorious chance for Kante as only ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois prevented Madrid from collapsing in a heap after half-time. He has brought much more than unfortunate penalty box uncertainty to Chelsea, however much howling missed chances like his volley in the first leg linger in the collective consciousness.

The ex-RB Leipzig man has 12 goals and 10 assists this season, making him the first Chelsea player to record double figures for both since Eden Hazard in 2018-19.

"I'm sure I've seen him around here somewhere," Werner might have thought as he gazed up into the cool night sky.

Zinedine Zidane's selection of Hazard in his starting XI and decision to keep him on for 89 minutes had little logic beyond "it's a funny old game". The only thing coming back to haunt anyone right now is the Belgium playmaker's price tag and what Florentino Perez thinks is acceptable when faced with a chasm in the Madrid accounts.

Few players in full flight are as utterly joyous as Hazard, but that was the Chelsea Hazard. Fitness woes have turned his dream move into a nightmare. He failed to register a shot or create a chance for a team-mate during the first half on his old stomping ground.

There was a snapshot on the angle to test imperious Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in the 64th minute before Hazard returned to the margins.

Big-name signings have no guarantees, as Werner might have mulled as he positioned his forehead for the ball and a virtually unmissable chance. Oh, to be a striker in form.

That can be a different kind of burden, though.

“For people who like to watch football, Karim is a gift,” Zidane recently said of his talismanic striker Karim Benzema. "We enjoy him and so do his teammates. Karim makes the difference."

As much as it must be nice to have his team-mates enjoy him, Benzema must sometimes wish they'd join in. His lightning control and volley conjured an equaliser out of nothing at Valdebebas last week.

He almost did likewise at Stamford Bridge, producing a brilliant first touch and venomous shot from the edge of the box that Mendy saved superbly.

When Benzema escaped the attentions of Antoinio Rudiger and Thiago Silva before half-time to send a looping header towards the net, the Chelsea goalkeeper was again his equal. The same could not be said for anyone with whom he shares a dressing room.

Mason Mount was on hand to make sure of a 2-0 win and an all-English final against Manchester City five minutes from time. A lavishly gifted youngster putting Madrid out of their misery felt somewhat symbolic - Mount possessed of the verve and energy that this shell of the great side that won three consecutive Champions Leagues have long since left behind. Time waits for no one.

Just like their limp exits against Ajax and City in the past two seasons, this was meek. The only dazzle that remains comes from their famous white kits.

Back in the 28th minute, there was the dazzling white of the floodlights, the crossbar and the ball all in Werner's immediate view. It was time, his time – the easiest goal he will ever score and very possibly the most important.

Two seconds from the moment Havertz hit the crossbar. Eight days on from Werner's torment in Madrid. A whole, torrid season. However you frame it, it was worth the wait.

Chelsea reached the Champions League final after a 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday completed a 3-1 aggregate victory in the semi-final.

Thomas Tuchel's side will meet Manchester City in Istanbul after a fully deserved triumph at Stamford Bridge, secured through Timo Werner and Mason Mount.

The Germany international's first open-play goal in the competition since September 2019 put the Blues ahead before Mount converted from close range in the closing stages after the hosts had missed a plethora of second-half openings as they countered Madrid with ease.

Zinedine Zidane's men looked out of sorts in a makeshift 3-4-3, even with captain Sergio Ramos and former Chelsea star Eden Hazard back in the side, as their winless record against the Premier League club stretched to five matches.

Following a quiet start, Werner had the ball in the net after 18 minutes but the forward had strayed offside before meeting Ben Chilwell's low cross.

Madrid enjoyed 73 per cent of the possession in the first 25 minutes and Edouard Mendy made a brilliant one-handed save to keep out a shot from Karim Benzema on the turn.

Yet they went behind two minutes later. N'Golo Kante's superb turn of pace allowed him to set up Kai Havertz, and although his chip came off the crossbar, Werner was on hand to nod in the rebound.

Benzema was denied again by Mendy, this time from a close-range header, but Madrid struggled to create opportunities despite their dominance of the ball.

Havertz again struck the woodwork with a powerful header just after the restart, but this time Thibaut Courtois breathed a sigh of relief as the ball bounced over and behind.

Mount wasted a glorious chance, driving at Courtois but blasting his finish over, and Havertz was denied by the goalkeeper's leg when through following a simple ball over the top.

Kante also wasted a good opening before Mount at last killed the contest, steering into the net from Christian Pulisic's cut-back after Madrid lost possession in their own half.

What does it mean? Chelsea to battle City second all-English final in three seasons

Madrid had never beaten Chelsea in four previous European meetings coming into this match and had not won in four consecutive away games against English sides in the competition.

It seemed the omens had weighed on the visitors as they failed to create anything meaningful beyond the first-half openings for Benzema, with the players looking uncomfortable in Zidane's system.

Chelsea, by contrast, were diligent and energetic and fully deserved to reach a third Champions League final.

No messing from Mendy

Mendy made four saves as Chelsea faced four shots on target in the first half of a Champions League game for the first time since October 2017 against Roma.

His two from Benzema were exceptional and helped to put his side in a commanding position at the break – one they did not relinquish.

Zidane loses Midas touch

Zidane guided Madrid to three consecutive trophies in this competition and oversaw an impressive defeat of Liverpool in the previous round.

However, his back-three set-up here, somewhat enforced by injury problems, was vulnerable to Chelsea's breaks throughout and seemed to stifle Hazard, Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

What's next?

Chelsea face something of a warm-up act for the final when they meet Pep Guardiola's City in the Premier League on Saturday. Madrid's LaLiga title battle resumes against fellow contenders Sevilla.

Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea will not sit back on their away-goal advantage against Real Madrid as it is in the club's DNA to try to win every match.

Christian Pulisic scored a crucial goal for Chelsea in last week's Champions League semi-final first leg before Karim Benzema levelled up the tie at 1-1 through Madrid's only shot on target.

The onus is on Madrid to score an away goal of their own in Wednesday's return match at Stamford Bridge, but Tuchel does not intend to set his side out to protect their narrow lead.

"For me, the challenge is to forget the result in two-legged games and go on and start anew at 0-0," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"We will prepare to win the match, nothing else. I don't know any other way to prepare other than to encourage my team to go out and try to win it.

"If we are at our best then it's a no-brainer that we go for the win. We want to win games, this club is about winning.

"This game and competition is about winning. We are in the semi-final second leg.

"The first result is not as important as everybody thinks. There is zero importance for me in the preparation of this match. 

"It's not changed anything about how we've prepared, zero influence. We will encourage them, we will demand from them and we will be strong tomorrow as a group."

Tuchel was left frustrated by Chelsea's finishing in the first leg, with Timo Werner guilty of missing good opportunities either side of Pulisic and Benzema's goals.

Werner has scored from three of his 20 shots in this season's Champions League, giving the Germany international a shot conversion rate of 15.0 per cent.

For comparison, Madrid striker Benzema – who will overtake Raul as the competition's outright fourth top goalscorer if he nets on Wednesday – has scored from six of his 31 shots (19.4 per cent)

But while Tuchel accepts his attacking players have to be more clinical, he is happy to persist with his current set-up.

"I believe that Timo absolutely wants to score more, but we have to understand sometimes strikers miss chances. This is part of the game," he said. 

"We have another training session today and it is always about the last impression from the players.

"Everybody needs to step up to take responsibility for scoring. This will come maybe with more time and some self-confidence. 

"I am pretty relaxed about it and trust my players, no matter who starts tomorrow."

Madrid were without captain Sergio Ramos last week but the experienced defender has been included as part of their squad for Wednesday's game.

Los Blancos have won three and drawn one of the four Champions League games Ramos has started this season, compared to three wins, two draws and two losses in the seven games he has missed.

Tuchel is expecting Ramos to return to the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge, which could also possibly mean a change in formation for the visitors.

"Does Ramos play or not? This is a tough question because I don't know if he's fit or not. We'll see after training and when they give the line-up," the German coach said.

"Does it change for Real Madrid? Yes, it changes them a lot. He's the captain of the most successful team in Europe in recent years.

"It changes a lot but we cannot lose our heads about this decision. I think that he will start, we will prepare for that and we have to make sure he can't do it alone."

"I am not sure if they will play 5-3-2 again, maybe they will go 4-3-3. From this decision, things change. 

"I believe that it is not about formation, what Real Madrid play, it is about how we play. Are we brave enough? Are we courageous enough?"

Chelsea have progressed from five of their past seven knockout ties in the Champions League when avoiding defeat away from home in the first leg. 

However, one of those two eliminations came in their last semi-final appearance in the competition, versus Atletico Madrid in 2013-14 when losing the second leg 3-1.

The Blues' only previous triumph in the competition was in 2011-12 and Tuchel, a beaten finalist with Paris Saint-Germain last season, knows the importance of lifting the trophy.

"I never felt like this competition is our holy grail since I arrived but I felt that this club is about winning," he said. 

"It does something to you, you feel it. We are very competitive, very serious about any game, this is what I like.

"I never felt we had a holy grail to reach the final or winning the Champions League is the only target. I have a strong feeling that every win counts, the club demands it."

Tuchel confirmed midfielder Mateo Kovacic will again miss out for Chelsea through injury, but Antonio Rudiger is fit to play with the aid of a protective mask.

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