Following their victory over Salzburg, Graham Potter, Matteo Kovacic, and Chelsea FC’s coaching staff all set new champions league records.
Today, Tuesday, October 25, 2022, after Chelsea FC won a spot in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, coach Graham Potter and player Matteo Kovacic both set new UCL records.
Graham Potter became the first Chelsea head coach since 2012 trophy-winning coach Roberto Di Matteo to be undefeated in his four first matches in the UEFA Champions League. In his first four games in the UCL, Potter has recorded three victories and one draw.
Along with his fellow countryman Luka Modric, Kovacic became the second player to score his first five goals while playing for five different coaches. In the teams of Potter, Lampard, Zidane, Benitez, and Jurcic, Kovac scored his first five goals.
With one match remaining, Chelsea has already advanced to the competition’s round of 16.
Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in his first Champions League game for Barcelona, as Xavi Hernandez’s side defeated Viktoria Plzen 5-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barca, who failed to advance past the group stage last season, also had Franck Kessie and Ferran Torres score in an impressive performance.
Lewandowski has now scored eight goals in five appearances in all competitions for his new team.
“I knew it was going to be important to adapt right from the first game here,” he told uefa.com
“Today is my wife’s birthday, so the goals and the celebration were both for her.” It means a lot that she was in the stadium on her birthday. Something incredible for me.”
The five-time European champions will face more difficult tests in Group C, which also includes Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Following Bayern’s 2-0 win at the San Siro, the Catalan giants visit the Allianz Arena next Tuesday in a true test of how far they have come in the last year.
Kessie nodded the ball home in the 13th minute after Jules Kounde had headed Ousmane Dembele’s corner back across goal.
It was the Ivorian midfielder’s first goal for the club since joining from AC Milan during the summer transfer window.
Midway through the first half, Ansu Fati nearly doubled the lead, but his effort was saved by visiting goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek.
Plzen were awarded a penalty in the 25th minute after Andreas Christensen brought down Jhon Mosquera, but the referee reversed his decision after a VAR review and awarded Barca a free kick.
With his 87th goal in the Champions League and first for his new club, Lewandowski moved ahead of Karim Benzema into third place all-time.
In the 34th minute, the 34-year-old curled a low shot into the bottom corner from just inside the area. Jan Sykora headed in Vaclav Jemelka’s cross shortly before the break to give the Czechs a lifeline.
Plzen, on the other hand, couldn’t stay within a goal until halftime, when Lewandowski stooped unnoticed to head Dembele’s cross over the line.
In the 67th minute, Lewandowski completed his sixth Champions League hat-trick with a fine low strike from distance.
“I’m not sure if Robert is the best striker in Europe, but he’s the best for us,” Xavi said.
“He helps us play out, he presses, he brings us a lot of attack solutions.” Total maturity as a player, and absolutely stunning. He scored a hat-trick, but it was his teamwork that impressed me.”
Xavi’s men added a fifth goal soon after, with Torres drilling a brilliant volley on the turn into the top corner from Dembele’s chipped pass.
Plzen avoided further damage, but they face a difficult task in their remaining five group games, beginning with a home game against Inter.
Wednesday’s opening Champions League group match saw Napoli defeat last season’s beaten finalists Liverpool 4-1, continuing Jurgen Klopp’s team’s unsettling start to the season.
At the Stadio Maradona, Napoli pushed Liverpool aside with a frenzied first-half effort, and they rightfully led by three goals at the break.
In the fifth minute, Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and two more skillfully executed goals from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone, making his Champions League debut, left Jurgen Klopp’s team facing a humiliating loss.
The fourth goal was almost immediately added by Poland midfielder Zielinski to give Napoli the perfect start to Group A.
After a two-season hiatus, Luciano Spalletti’s club has returned to Europe’s elite tournament and is currently in second place, level with Ajax, who defeated Rangers in similar fashion. Napoli improved on a solid start to their domestic campaign, placing second in Serie A after five games, and will be buoyed by excellent showings from newcomers, especially explosive winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Georgian Kvaratskhelia, who has already won over Napoli supporters with his dynamic wing play and eye for goal, had a significant impact despite playing for less than an hour.
The Scots, meantime, have kept Liverpool off the bottom, and they are now focusing on trying to move up from seventh position in the Premier League.
Due to Dinamo Zagreb’s shocking 1-0 victory on Tuesday, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Champions League debut for Chelsea was destroyed.
After being paired with Dinamo, Red Bull Salzburg, and AC Milan in Group E, Thomas Tuchel’s team was predicted to breeze through the division. But when Mislav Orsic’s first-half goal punished the Blues for yet another poor performance in Zagreb, their mission might not be as straightforward.
Tuchel is under pressure to produce championships in exchange for the enormous investment he has made after spending £250 million ($280 million) on new acquisitions since the end of the previous season. However, Chelsea’s spending binge hasn’t yet paid off as evidenced by their lack of standout Premier League performances and current streak of three straight away losses in all competitions.
Aubameyang had a forgettable debut after moving to Chelsea from Barcelona in a £10.3 million deadline-day move just months after his bitter departure from Arsenal. The 33-year-old only trained with Chelsea for the first time on Sunday and has only played eight minutes this season.
Aubameyang recently cracked his jaw following a brutal house invasion, necessitating a trip to Italy for the Gabon striker’s special protective mask to be installed.
Aubameyang appeared uneasy as he battled to get past the Croatian champions’ tight defense, whether it was the mask or his lack of familiarity with his new teammates.
When Kai Havertz whipped in a seductive pass, the first warning flag appeared when he chose not to attack the close post. Aubameyang then had a clear shot at goal but hesitated before deciding whether to fire or pass to Raheem Sterling, putting Zagreb in jeopardy.
Early on, Chelsea controlled the ball with dominance, but in the 13th minute, a merciless Dinamo counterattack caught them off guard.