BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea have created history by becoming the first club to have senior women and men’s teams in the final of their respective Champions Leagues.
Following on from Chelsea women’s 4-1 thrashing of Bayern Munich in their semi-final second leg for a 5-3 aggregate win on Sunday, Thomas Tuchel followed that up by overseeing the men’s 2-0 victory against Real Madrid on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge to triumph 3-1 overall.
The women will face Barcelona in Gothenburg on May 16, while the men face Manchester City in Istanbul on May 29.
This weekend will see a dress rehearsal of that final in Turkey when Chelsea head to the Etihad Stadium knowing a home win will see City become Premier League champions, while the Londoners need points to secure their grip on fourth place in the league.
On Sunday, the women can retain their WSL title if they beat Reading at home at Kingsmeadow.
They are two points ahead of Manchester City after a 2-0 away victory over Spurs on Wednesday afternoon. A draw will be enough, so long as City do not beat West Ham by more than three goals.
The women’s goals were scored by Sam Kerr, the Australian striker has 20 leagues goals for the Blues – putting her top of the striking chart.
Kerr said: “The most important thing is to win the league and for me to score goals, that’s what I’m paid for.
“When we are under pressure, we perform better, and it’s been an intense week. There is a lot on the line. Playing Reading on Sunday is a massive game for us. We will try and treat it like any other game, but we are desperate to retain the title.”
Chelsea women’s boss Emma Hayes said: “The league has always been in our hands. It’s so important to win at home and I’m confident we will. I won’t bother to ask how City are doing, I’ll be 100 per cent focused on us winning our game.”
They have the possibility of winning all four competitions they have entered this season. The League Cup has already been retained and they face Everton at home in the fifth round of the FA cup later this month.
The men can do a Champions League and FA Cup double – they face Leicester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 15.
Timo Werner, who scored the first goal against Real said: “We can win the Champions League and the FA Cup. Our team is incredible.”
Thomas Tuchel has become the first coach to reach successive Champions League finals with different clubs – he was boss of PSG in their defeat to Bayern Munich last season.
He said: “We could have scored more than two goals. But and we had to hang in there physically, to continue with our positive body language, have the right attitude, to stay aggressive and active, and never stop trying. So huge congratulations to the team.”
Chelsea have already beaten Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final but Tuchel does not believe that will give them any advantage when they face them either at the weekend or in Istanbul.
“We do not have the upper hand but it gives us a good feeling,” he said. “Manchester City are the benchmark, we want to close the gap.
“We did that with an impressive performance in the FA Cup semi-final, and we need to do that again. It gave us confidence for games after that, they are the highest level you can face.”
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