Having qualified as group winners last night, there are five sides we may face in the last 16 of the Champions League when the draw is made on Monday morning.
There are three runners-up we cannot draw: Schalke, because they qualified from our group, and Manchester City and Arsenal, as they are from the same association.
Here the official Chelsea website casts an eye over those clubs we could draw, and previews the UEFA Youth League draw, also on Monday.
Andre Schurrle might be handed a quick return to the club we signed him from in the summer, Bayer Leverkusen. They qualified after defeating Real Sociedad 1-0 on Tuesday night in Spain, and that result, coupled with Shakhtar Donetsk’s defeat at Old Trafford, edged them above the Ukrainians and into second. We met Leverkusen in our triumphant 2011/12 campaign, that time in the group stage, winning 2-0 at home but conceding an injury-time goal in a 2-1 defeat in Germany. They are currently second in the Bundesliga, four points behind Bayern Munich.
Galatasaray, where Didier Drogba now calls home, qualified yesterday lunchtime in dramatic circumstances. Their game with Juventus in Istanbul on Tuesday night was abandoned with just over half an hour played because of snowfall, with the remaining 59 minutes completed the following day. Wesley Sneider scored the only goal five minutes from time, and it was enough for Galatasaray to leapfrog their Italian opponents into second place. Now managed by Roberto Mancini, Gala are in fourth place in the Turkish Super League, nine points adrift of Fenerbahce. We famously beat the Turkish champions 5-0 in Istanbul in 1999, having won 1-0 at home in our only previous meetings.
Olympiacos, managed by former Real Madrid right-back Michel, qualified in second from a group including PSG and Benfica. They qualified at the expense of the Portuguese side with a better head-to-head record. Olympiacos’s squad includes Roy Carroll, once of Manchester United, Javier Saviola and striker Joel Campbell, on loan from Arsenal. They are comfortably top of their domestic league. We have faced the current Greek champions once before, and that was in the last 16 en route to the final in 2008. A goalless draw in a hostile Athens atmosphere preceded a routine 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the return leg.
The only possible new opponents we could draw are Zenit St Petersburg, who scraped through ahead of Porto despite losing 4-1 to Austria Vienna last night, in a group won comfortably by Atletico Madrid. The first leg game in the north-west of Russia, on the banks of the River Neva, would be played during the Russian Premier League’s winter break, which ends in the first week of March. Zenit, managed by Luciano Spalletti and with Hulk, Andrey Arshavin and Axel Witsel in their ranks, head into the winter break top of their domestic league.
AC Milan edged through at the expense of Ajax last night, following a 0-0 draw at the San Siro. We last met the seven-time winners in the first group stage of our debut season in the Champions League, in 1999. Two memorable draws ensued, with Dennis Wise’s equaliser in Milan still celebrated in song at Chelsea games today. AC Milan have endured a disappointing domestic campaign thus far, with the 19 points they have collected only enough for ninth place in Serie A.
The draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday, with a start time of 11am (UK time).
Our Under-19 side will also find out their next European opponents on Monday, when the draw for the remaining fixtures in the UEFA Youth League is made.
Dermot Drummy’s youngsters won all six of their group games – the only club in either the senior or junior version of the tournament to do so – and will therefore be at home for the one-off round of 16 match.
The path for the rest of the competition is also mapped out on Monday with open draws for the quarter-final, semi-final and final stage. Those fixtures will all be single-leg ties as well with semis and final played over one weekend in Switzerland.
The sides our Under-19s could draw on Monday are: Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Copenhagen, Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Austria Vienna or AC Milan.
The other clubs to have progressed to the last 16, and therefore possible opponents later in the competition, are: Real Sociedad, Real Madrid, Benfica, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Schalke, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.