Chelsea needn’t have worried about the outcome of the Champions League final last night because they had midfielder Matteo Kovacic sat on the bench.
The Croatian came on for the final ten minutes in the 1-0 win over Manchester City, earning his fourth European Cup final medal.
German forward Kai Harvertz had made the difference on the night, and the Blues defended his first-half goal resolutely until the final whistle.
Chelsea had beaten City twice under Thomas Tuchel this season, once in an FA Cup semi-final, and a second time in the Premier League.
Nevertheless, on the night, the Blues were considered underdogs against the Manchester side.
So, going into the game, Chelsea fans would have taken all the good luck charms they could get.
As it happens, they had one sitting on the bench, exactly where he needed to be.
Last night, Matteo Kovacic won his fourth Champions League medal, having been part of the Real Madrid squads that won the competition three years on the bounce, in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
However, despite the 27-year-old’s haul with Madrid, he hadn’t played a minute in a Champions League final until last night.
Kovacic sat on the bench all the way through the Spanish side’s finals against Juventus and Liverpool, while he didn’t even make the squad against city rivals Atletico in 2016.
Having said that, the playmaker did contribute during those campaigns, totalling 21 Champions League appearances across those three successful seasons.
Similarly, Kovacic contributed in nine European games before last night’s final, where he came on in the final stages of the game, seeing off City despite seven minutes being added on.
Should they get to the final again, it’s a certainty that Chelsea will call on Kovacic to keep that bench warm.
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