History-chasing surge suggests Chelsea's European hopes are slim

Chelsea will be hoping to beat Atletico Madrid and reach the Champions League final, but if they get there, they could meet a force too strong to overcome.

For the last year or so, I have been telling anyone prepared to listen that Bayern Munich are the best side in the world.

It was in no way an original or unique thought. But it was one I felt strongly about. Here was a squad chock-full of world-class talent who bid auf Wiedersehen to one outstanding coach in the form of Jupp Heynckes and replaced him with another in Pep Guardiola.

But something happened on Tuesday evening that made me reassess my earlier opinion, because the reigning European champions were not simply beaten by Real Madrid, they were torn apart.

The 1-0 victory in the Bernabeu was a fantastic stepping-stone for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, but few would have expected them to terrorise Bayern so effectively in their own back-yard.

Some will question whether Guardiola has improved this side or if their failings in the Champions League highlight just how much better his predecessor was. But regardless of that point, Real looked on another level last night.

Two goals each from Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo propelled them to the final; but it is what they are pursuing that could render their opponents on that occasion if not irrelevant, then very much second-favourites.

Real have been chasing La Decima – a 10th European Cup triumph – for 11 seasons, and while they have fallen short at various stages prior to this campaign, their performance in the Allianz Arena suggests the wait is all but over.

Atletico Madrid or Chelsea will obviously have other ideas, but sometimes the ability to make history spurs men on to great things.

That was what I witnessed as I watched the La Liga giants crush their Bundesliga counterparts on Tuesday. And it is why I believe that not even Jose Mourinho – should he guide Chelsea past Diego Simeone’s side tonight – will be able to get one over his old team this time.

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