Whilst celebrating the recent successes of our team and qualifying for our 16th (Yes 16th!) Champions League appearance in 20 years, I thought it a great idea to go through our past experiences in the European competition, to keep us excited for what’s the come.
At the turn of the century, Chelsea qualified for their first ever Champions League. With the likes of current assistant Gianfranco Zola and Tore Andre Flo flashing through the competition, the Blues found themselves in the quarterfinals, where they fell to Barcelona with a 4-6 aggregate score.
By placing fourth in the Prem the year before, Chelsea qualified for the Champions League again after missing three seasons. They secured the spot by beating 5th-place Liverpool on the final day of the season 2-1.
Jesper Grønkjær scored the game winner, in a goal that was dubbed to be worth a billion pounds, in what may have ultimately influenced Abramovich’s takeover. Chelsea reached the Semi-finals after beating rivals Arsenal 2-1 in the quarterfinals, which was their first win over the gunners since 1998. Frank Lampard and Wayne Bridge were the heroes of the night. The team fell to Monaco in the Semi-final.
In a year where Chelsea showed their prowess and future success, the Blues blew past Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage, Barcelona in the Round of 16, and Bayern Munich in the Quarterfinals, only to fall to Liverpool 0-1 in the Semis. It was their second year in a row bowing out of the semifinals, however their success against these monster teams showed they were here to stay.
This was the first year that Chelsea ever reached a Champions League final, and it only took them 6 tries to get there. Blasting through Liverpool in the semifinals and not letting them get in their way again, The Blues met the reds of Manchester United in the final. Throughout a hard-fought match, it ended 1-1. In the penalty shootout, Petr Cech had just saved Christiano Ronaldo’s penalty, however captain John Terry on that fateful night slipped on his run up and hit the post. Edwin van der Sar finished off the match by saving Nicolas Anelka’s penalty. A very tough loss for the club, but a very promising showing for a relatively new team to the competition.
The year of dreams. Chelsea win a group comprised of Bayer Leverkusen, Valencia, and Genk. In the Round of 16, the boys in blue won a thriller series against Napoli 5-4. In the Quarterfinal the team beat Benfica 3-1, and Barcelona 3-2 in the Semifinals. Then came the match in Munich, against the hometown team in Bayern. The Drogba equalizer. Then the shootout.
In Chelsea’s last three Champions League appearances, they were knocked out in the Round of 16, by PSG twice, and Barcelona just last year.
Next year, Chelsea have qualified once more, and look to make a testament to the team they once were in the Champions League.
You know you can just hear the song playing in your head, with our men lining up.
Get ready. The Blues are coming.
Liam Hungate – @liamhungate