Then there were four. Munich or Madrid beckons for the Blues, so the official Chelsea website takes a look at our possible opponents when the draw for the semi-finals of the Champions League is made tomorrow…
Tuesday night’s dramatic 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain secured our place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition for the seventh time in 11 seasons. In that time it is a figure only Barcelona can match.
The draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland tomorrow (Friday) at 11am (UK time). The Blues, who are 11/2 to win the competition with our official betting partner Coral, are guaranteed a trip to either the Spanish capital or the scene of our greatest triumph following the conclusion of the quarter-final ties last night. Here, the official Chelsea website checks on our potential opponents.
Reigning European champions Bayern Munich were for 22 seconds going out of the competition last night. Having drawn their first leg with Manchester United at Old Trafford 1-1, the German side – whose 53-game unbeaten league run ended this weekend – went behind to a Patrice Evra thunderbolt.
But they responded immediately through a neat Mario Mandzukic header and the Bavarians eventually ran out comfortable 3-1 winners courtesy of goals from Thomas Muller and former Blue Arjen Robben. Another ex-Chelsea man Claudio Pizarro made a late substitute appearance.
Bayern wrapped up the Bundesliga on 25 March with seven games to spare, a German record, and manager Pep Guardiola has since stressed all their efforts for the remainder of this campaign will go into retaining their European crown as well as lifting the German Cup again.
Though no team has successfully defended their Champions League crown, Bayern are favourites with Coral to lift the trophy again, priced at 11/8. A pairing with the Munich side would of course see us return to the Allianz Arena for the first time since 19 May 2012, a date etched in our club’s history. We also met Bayern in this season’s Super Cup in Prague, losing on penalties after a well-contested 2-2 draw.
La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid progressed to the semi-finals of the European Cup for the first time in 40 years after defeating Barcelona 2-1 on aggregate. They are 5/1 to lift the trophy for the first time.
Koke’s fifth-minute goal was enough to secure a 1-0 win at the Vicente Calderon last night which, coupled with the 1-1 draw they earned in the Nou Camp last week, sent Diego Simeone’s men through at the Catalans’ expense.
The result was all the more impressive considering Atletico were without the injured duo of Arda Turan and Diego Costa. The latter, who has struck 32 goals this season including seven in the Champions League, is expected to be fit for the semi-finals.
Thibaut Courtois is on loan at Atletico from the Blues and shone in both legs against Barca, while there is a further Chelsea connection in the form of Tiago, whose exemplary midfield play last night was a major factor in nullifying the threat posed by Xavi, Iniesta and co. The Portuguese, now 32, was at Stamford Bridge for a solitary season under Jose Mourinho in 2004/05.
This will be Atletico’s fourth appearance at this stage of the competition. Their last, in 1974, took them to the final where they met Bayern Munich, losing after a replay.
We played Atletico in the group stages of the 2009/10 season, romping to a 4-0 home success before drawing 2-2 in the Spanish capital, Sergio Aguero and Didier Drogba netting a brace apiece for their respective sides.
Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid complete the semi-final line-up. The nine-time winners, now managed by Carlo Ancelotti, survived a quarter-final scare to progress to this stage of the competition for the fourth year running. Under Mourinho in the previous three years they were not able to reach the final being eliminated by Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
In a fixture that was a repeat of last year’s semi-final, this time around Real ran out easy 3-0 winners at the Bernebeu before travelling to Germany for the second leg on Tuesday evening. The visitors were without the injured Ronaldo and Dortmund burst into a two-goal lead courtesy of Marco Reus and they had clear chances to level the tie on aggregate later on in the game. They were not taken, though, so Real held out for a 3-2 aggregate victory. Coral make them second favourites at 2/1.
After the quarter-final draw was made Real lost successive La Liga games, at home to Barcelona and away to Sevilla, handing the domestic advantage to their city rivals Atleti and their old rivals Barca. They are aiming to scale the European heights not reached since winning the competition in 2002 and in turn get one over their Spanish foes.
We have never met Real Madrid in the Champions League, but we have beaten them in two European finals – the 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup final and the Super Cup in 1999. Those games were played on neutral territory.
The club will be represented at the draw by Chief Executive Ron Gourlay, Director and Club Secretary David Barnard and Paulo Ferreira. Each side at the draw is sending a former player.
– You can find out who we are drawn against through this website, the club’s official Twitter feed @chelseafc and our SMS alerts.