Chelsea rocked by brilliant Benzema, Bayern bruised, as last two winners suffer Champions League setbacks

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Champions League title holders Chelsea are on the verge of elimination after suffering a thumping at home by Real Madrid.

A hat-trick by veteran French striker Karim Benzema earned the 13-times European champions an emphatic 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge in their quarter-final first leg on Thursday AEST.

The Spaniards were seeking revenge after the Londoners eliminated them in last season’s semi-finals before the Blues won the trophy in Porto.

Benzema, 34, scored two headed goals in the space of three first-half minutes and then pounced on an error by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy just after halftime to put the visitors in control of the tie before Tuesday’s second leg at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

But Chelsea’s chances of a comeback were undone by Mendy’s mistake in the 46th minute when, outside his box, he tried to pass to Antonio Rudiger only for Benzema to intercept and steer the ball into an empty net for his 37th goal of the season.

“It is a heavy loss. It was one of the worst first halves that I saw from us here at Stamford Bridge,” said angry Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

” Individually and as a team it was by far not enough. It was far from our standards and then you lose games.

“Passing, where we passed, how we passed when we passed, when we attacked, the ball possession game… first half was so from any standards that we set ourselves that we cannot complain when we lose.

“We had 16 shots in the second half. You can always come back and win it but when you kill the game by yourself after 45 minutes it is harder and harder.

“We have to go Southampton and it is very important to process this. It is crucial that we go to Southampton. If we keep playing like this we will lose at Southampton and then we will get hammered at Bernabeu.”

There was more joy for Spain as Europa League winners Villarreal beat Bayern Munich 1-0 thanks to Arnaut Danjuma’s early strike in their next upset bid following a last-16 elimination of Juventus.

An electrifying Villarreal beat six-times winners Bayern Munich 1-0 at Estadio de la Ceramica in their quarter-final first leg.

Forward Arnaut Danjuma’s eighth-minute strike gave Unai Emery’s side a slender lead for the second leg at the Allianz Arena in Munich next week.

Villarreal took the game to the Germans and should have won by a wider margin as they had another effort ruled out for offside before striking a post through Gerard Moreno.

The Europa League holders suffocated Julian Nagelsmann’s team when they tried to attack, while proving a constant menace to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on the counter.

© AAP

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