Given that Chelsea will not be competing in the 2023/24 Champions League this season – or any continental competition – following last year’s debacle and awful campaign by the Blues’ standards, now could be an opportune time to head into the history archives.
The club has started to announce itself as one of the best in Europe in recent times as they have been able to claim two UCL titles since 2012, thus propelling them into the spotlight and giving them a status that is deserved.
There have been numerous moments through the competition when Chelsea have featured that have provided a number of eventful moments, with some having featured incredible comebacks. On the flip side, though, there have been matches that have seen the Blues crumble under the pressure and fail to advance when the position they held would have perhaps have made them the favorite to do so.
What are some of Chelsea’s most memorable moments in the UCL?
Aside from the fact that Chelsea have been able to win two titles in the space of a decade, there have been many instances in which they have had to pull something out of the bag in each of these campaigns to get to the top and win the biggest prize in club football.
Starting with the 2012 campaign in which they defeated Bayern Munich in the final on penalties at the Allianz Arena, that year was filled with memorable moments. In the Round of 16, they needed extra time to turn a 3-1 first leg deficit into a 5-4 victory against Napoli as they secured a 1-4 win in Italy. They also produced a magical moment in the semifinal when they faced FC Barcelona, with Fernando Torres scoring the goal that would send them through to the final and tie the contest 2-2 in the final minutes when the Spaniards look to be going through on away goals.
The 2012 final was also special, as a goal from Didier Drogba moments before the final whistle helped them to level the tie and force extra time and penalties. While Juan Mata missed the first penalty, Chelsea managed to score each of their next four penalties to win as Bayern Munich missed their final two.The 2020/21 success was also filled with memorable matches and performances. Although there were no matches that stood out throughout the competition, they managed to go through it in its entirety without experiencing defeat. They would eventually win the title by beating Manchester City 1-0 through a Kai Havertz goal. Manchester City would finally get their own title in the 22/23 season, and according to the odds provided by 32 Red Sport, the Cityzens are favored to win the UCL this season following the group drawing and without the Blues being in contention.
Chelsea have been shocked in the UCL before
Of course, the Blues have not always had it their own way when it comes to playing in Europe’s premier competition. There have been many instances when they have been upset and dumped out of the competition when they should not have been.
The most famous one is perhaps when Drogba was seen going on his rant at the end of the game between Chelsea and FC Barcelona in what proved to be a highly controversial encounter. The Ivorian was extremely unhappy with the officiating of the game, which saw Andres Iniesta score in the final moments of the tie to level the game 1-1 but send the Spaniards through on away goals.
Back in 2000, Barcelona were also dominant during a UCL matchup between these sides, pre-Roman Abramovich era. Chelsea held an initial 3-1 advantage going into the second leg after their home win; however, they would go on to lose 5-1 at Nou Camp and eventually exit 6-4 on aggregate in the quarterfinals.
Will Chelsea play UCL football again soon?
Chelsea appears unlikely to return to UEFA Champions League action any time soon, given all that has transpired over recent seasons. While some believe Mauricio Pochettino can lead them back into European competition during his debut campaign, anything could happen with all their new players and new systems to learn – hopefully we will see less of what has been experienced recently and more of what has been expected at Stamford Bridge over recent decades.