Roberto Di Matteo and his squad face our first Champions League away game of the season on Tuesday when we take on FC Nordsjaelland, and the official Chelsea website has been talking to a couple of Blues fanatics in Copenhagen (where the game is taking place) to get the lowdown on the city for our supporters making the trip.
Thomas Lundberg, 17, gave a bit of historical insight into the city, as well as providing supporters with a couple of phrases which may come in handy during the trip.
‘With around a quarter of Denmark’s population, Copenhagen plays a dominant role in the country’s political and cultural life,’ he says. ‘It has been the country’s capital for almost 900 years and is at the same time very old, but also a city constantly renewing itself (as will be noticed – if nothing else – from the constant road works and engineering projects taking place all over the city).
‘A couple of useful phrases are: ‘tak’ (thank you) and ‘skål’ (cheers) – but don’t worry, about 95 per cent of Danes speak English. If you arrive by air to Copenhagen, you’ll find it quite easy to get to the town centre – either by Metro (Underground) or DSB who run the regional and long distance trains.In either case, it’s a 15 minutes ride, more or less.
‘In case of nice weather there is the beautiful Nyhavn [pictured below] – a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen with a wonderful atmosphere.Close by are the Royal Palace (Amalienborg) and the seat of the Danish parliament, Christiansborg.’
Thomas Overbye, meanwhile, has been a Chelsea supporter since 1998, the year we lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup on Scandinavian soil, and has some helpful information for those fans looking to do some shopping when in the city.
‘Shopping options in Copenhagen are great,’ says Thomas. ‘Head to Fields Shopping Centre in Ørestad, which you can access either by regional train or Metro from the airport.
‘It is a traditional shopping centre with medium to low prices, although there are some more expensive brands as well.
‘Another place to visit would be Stroget, a pedestrian street in Copenhagen, where they have everything from designer brands to low-budget souvenir shops.
‘Lastly, I would advise supporters to check out the Fisketorvet (Copenhagen Mall). To get there you have to take the S-train to Dybelsbro Street, but it’s worth checking beforehand whether or not it is undergoing major redevelopment.
‘Good entertainment places include Tivoli [below], where you will find traditional Danish food such as fried bacon and parsley sauce with katofler, as well as nice desserts.’
In terms of the match itself, it may be an away game for the Blues but, according to both men, there will be no shortage of support from the locals.
Make no mistake, Chelsea are one of the most popular clubs in Scandinavia, and those supporters looking to indulge in a few Danish alcoholic beverages prior to kick-off should head to one place in particular.
‘I really recommend all the Chelsea fans to visit Café Guldhornene, which is a Chelsea bar,’ says Lundberg. ‘They show all the Chelsea games and there are always some Chelsea fans watching the matches there.
‘I’ve been there many times, and one big moment I remember was the Champions League final, the greatest day in my life.There were hundreds of Chelsea fans there and I will never forget that day as long as I live. From 1pm you’ll be able to visit Café Guldhornene and buy beers and other drinks for a very good price. The address is: Vestergade 20A (very close to the Town Hall Square – in the city centre)
‘On the night of the game, all the Chelsea fans will meet up at the Town Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen) in the centre of Copenhagen. We will all together march to Parken, where the match will be played.
‘You have to meet up at Rådhuspladsen at 6:30pm, and you’re more than welcome to join in, as we need a lot of Chelsea fans to sing through our march. We will sing every single Chelsea song during our walk out to the stadium (distance 3km/2 miles).’
Overbye also recalled fondly the night we lifted the Champions League trophy and, like Lundberg, advised supporters to head to the city’s most popular Chelsea bar.
‘When we won the Champions League, we were already at the bar 12 hours before kick-off and there is a really good atmosphere with good talk and songs about Chelsea,’ he explains.
‘We have an agreement with the owners that we get a free beer at the time of our first goal if you have a Chelsea shirt on.’
Our opponents are something of an unknown quantity on these shores, and while the Blues will be fully expected to head back to London having secured our first win of the campaign, as Lundberg explains, FC Nordsjaelland should be given due respect having won the title last season.
‘FC Nordsjælland are known as a creative type of football team, and that led them to the Danish championship last season,’ he says. ‘All the credit is given to their coach, Kasper Hjulmand [below], who has developed the right type of players to suit his style of play after he took over in 2011 after three seasons as assistant coach.
‘With an average age of 22, their squad is very young. The 20-year-old Dane, Jores Okore, is a defender worth mentioning, and because of his physical strength and speed, several big European clubs are keeping an eye on him.
‘Their 4-3-3 formation is very strong in the final third of the pitch, with Søren Christensen and Kasper Lorentzen the main players to keep an eye out for.’