Kai Havertz scored the winner for Chelsea in the Champions League final (not like you needed reminding) as the Blues’ marquee summer signing delivered on the biggest stage of all for his club.
His eye-watering £71million transfer fee was paid back in full with that one goal, not that he “gives a ****” as he said in his post-match interview at the Estadio do Dragao. You pay the big bucks for big players to deliver in big moments.
Havertz did exactly that when he latched onto Mason Mount’s precise through ball, rounded the on-rushing Man City goalkeeper Ederson, composed himself and stroked the ball into an empty net to secure the all-important winning goal three minutes before half time.
Havertz had struggled to adapt to the English game after being brought to the Premier League by Frank Lampard, but there are most certainly mitigating circumstances.
Aged just 21, adapting to a new league and a new country for the first amid the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic was never going to be an easy task. And it was the virus that really stalled Havertz’s progress.
The German star tested positive for Covid-19 back in November and it hit him hard.
It was like a very bad flu for me so I think now I know it is very bad for people,” Havertz told the BBC back in December.
“Before I sometimes thought, ‘OK it is not so bad’ but now I get it and I know for older people and people who had illnesses before it can be very bad.
“We all have to look out for each other. To be honest, it was personally very hard.
“When you do nothing for two and half weeks and then you start training again, you feel like you have never played football before. For me it took two or three weeks to get back to 100%.”
It looked a bit more than that as Havertz went on a goal drought of 15 games after testing positive for Covid in November, not scoring in the top flight until he found the net in the 4-1 win over Crystal Palace.
His deployment as a false nine by new head coach Thomas Tuchel, who had replaced the man who brought Havertz to the club in late January, looked to have changed things for the better for the attacker, who turns 22 this month.
Very encouraging performances against Everton, Leeds and Palace looked to have found Havertz a new position in the team but the goals still didn’t really arrive as he ended the campaign with four in the top flight, added to five assists.
But his goal in the Champions League final, when he was perhaps a surprise starter, was priceless. Nine days after lifting the trophy, the Aachen-born star had netted for his country in their 7-1 win over Latvia and laid on another, though his strike was later ruled as an own goal.
But the kickstart that Havertz got from the final not only bodes well for Germany heading into the Euros that start later this week, but also for Chelsea heading into next season.
Incredibly, the fixtures for the new campaign are released next week and it has barely been five minutes since the Blues ended the 2020/21 campaign with a defeat to Aston Villa.
Should Germany make the Euro finals next month then Havertz will have roughly a month before the new season gets underway. He’ll need at least two weeks break this summer, if not more, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for pre-season training.
But keeping up his form with his country over the summer can only be good news for Chelsea and, whether they sign Erling Haaland or not, it could help Tuchel find a solution to an issue that plagued his team in the first five months of his tenure – goalscoring.