After an inspiring comeback at Stamford Bridge against PSG on Tuesday, Chelsea FC advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. They are the only English club remaining after Manchester United were elminated. The remaining clubs are Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich. Except for Atletico Madrid, the other clubs were also involved in the 2012 semi-final draw. Coincidentally, Chelsea have met all three clubs in the UEFA Super Cup.
As he said before the quarter-finals draw, manager Jose Mourinho is not concerned about who he plays, “If the quarter-finals had eight fantastic teams, imagine the four that are going to reach the semi-finals. A big opponent is waiting for us but it doesn’t matter who.”
Each club would create interesting story lines for Chelsea. Of the three clubs, Chelsea has most recently played Bayern Munich. The two met in August for the UEFA Super Cup which ended in an intense 2-2 draw after 120 minutes. It came down to the last penalty when Romelu Lukaku missed and Bayern prevailed. It was a reversal of two years ago when Chelsea beat Bayern in penalties in the 2012 Champions League Final. The match-up would also pit old rivals Mourinho and Bayern manager Pep Guardiola again from their two-year El Clasico rivalry. The two downplayed it when they met in August not wanting to create another controversy.
A match-up between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea has interesting off the field talk. The English newspapers have been reporting that the London club will bid for Diego Costa in the summer. The club is looking to upgrade in the strikers department with Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, and Samuel Eto’o all expected to exit. For the past three years, Chelsea has loaned Thibaut Courtois to the Spanish club where he has helped them win multiple trophies. This included the UEFA Super Cup in August 2012 against his Chelsea FC and the youngster had a good performance. This caused Chelsea to insert a new clause in this season’s loan that Atletico would have to pay a high fee in order for Courtois to play against them. This was confirmed by Atletico’s club president today. There are other reports that Courtois could play for Chelsea in exchange for a discount on Diego Costa.
The other remaining club, Real Madrid, would reunite Jose Mourinho against his old club. The two did not leave on the best of terms in the summer. Mourinho went trophy-less for the first time in his career in the 2012-13 season and he had problems with star players Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas. His time at the Bernabeu was perceived by some as a failure due to not delivering the 10th Champions League trophy in the club’s history.
Shortly after his re-appointment at Chelsea, Mourinho faced his old club in the preseason at Miami which was overshadowed by a fan running on the field to hug Cristiano Ronaldo. The last time the clubs played in an official match was all the way back in the 1998 UEFA Super Cup. A solo goal by Gus Poyet led Chelsea FC to victory over the Spanish giants. Any of the three clubs will create an exciting two-legs for Chelsea as the club has shown the ability to overcome any opponent this season.