It’s the second gameweek of the Champions League 2017/18, and already the competition has thrown up a contest that could well be the final – such is the quality and pedigree of the two teams involved.
Chelsea travel to Atletico Madrid’s new Wanda Metropolitano home on Wednesday evening in a game that features numerous narratives and subtexts – not least Diego Costa watching on from the stands.
These two teams have played out some unbelievable fixtures in recent memory; not least the heart-stopping semi-final of the Champions League back in 2013/14, which the Spaniards won 3-1 on aggregate.
To whet the appetite for Wednesday’s game, here’s a look back at the Blues’ five most electrifying nights in European football:
Frank’s Tears as Liverpool Swept Aside
A Champions League semi-final between two English clubs is always going to be a fraught and passionate affair, and the clash between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in 2008 was no exception.
Drawing 1-1 from the first leg, Chelsea were strong favourites with an away goal to their name, but the Reds were not ready to give up that easily.
Didier Drogba fired the hosts ahead before Fernando Torres equalised for the visitors – levelling the fixture and sending it into extra time.
It was here that Frank Lampard, playing just days after the death of his mother, stepped up to plate to fire home what would prove to be the winning penalty – a truly emotional moment amongst yet another incredible night of European football at Stamford Bridge.
Barcelona Bashed in Ultimate Comeback
The first leg of this Champions League last 16 match in 2005 had witnessed Barcelona edge ahead 2-1, and they were well fancied to complete the job in the second leg considering their galaxy of attacking talent which included Ronaldinho, Deco, Andres Iniesta and Samuel Eto’o.
But that was to write this Chelsea side off too easily, and this Jose Mourinho mark 1.0 outfit produced perhaps the best 20-minute spell in the club’s history to rack up a 3-0 lead through Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff.
Ronaldinho then scored twice to make matters rather interesting before that man John Terry crashed a header home to send his side through to the quarter finals.
Battle of London
Chelsea have been at the heart of a number of all-English battles in European competition through the years, and the clash with Arsenal in the quarter finals back in 2003/04 was one for the ages.
After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the two teams did battle at Highbury for the right to play surprise package Monaco in the semi-finals.
Jose Antonio Reyes had fired the Gunners in front, and with much made about Arsene Wenger’s 17-match unbeaten streak against Chelsea the away fans must have feared the worst.
But that man Frank Lampard – so often Chelsea’s hero on big European nights – equalised before Wayne Bridge slid home what was to be the most important of his nine career goals.
Torres Moves the Earth for Neville
Chelsea’s 2011/12 Champions League campaign seemed doomed for failure, yet when Roberto Di Matteo took temporary charge of the side everything seemed to fall into place.
They battled their way into the semi-finals against Barcelona, and somehow fashioned a 1-0 first leg lead for themselves despite having just 20% possession.
Most assumed Barca would stroll to victory in the second leg, but that once again failed to account for this Chelsea side’s incredible character.
Despite John Terry getting sent off, Gary Cahill limping off, Lionel Messi missing a penalty and Chelsea seeing less than one-fifth of the total possession, they stayed in the game at 1-2 and appeared to be clinging on.
As the Catalan outfit piled forward, a hooked clearance found Fernando Torres in acres of space. He strode up field before slotting home a momentous winner for his team – a goal that, well, did funny things to commentator Gary Neville.
The History Boys
It was like something out of a Roy of the Rovers story. Chelsea had battled their way to the Champions League final after that victory over Barcelona, and yet there they would have to face a rampant Bayern Munich. The venue? Bayern’s Allianz Arena, of course.
Oh, and Chelsea had to head into the dragon’s den without John Terry, who was suspended.
The Blues fought valiantly for the first 82 minutes, before Thomas Muller popped up with an 83rd minute goal for his side. That was the match over, surely?
Smaller fry than this Chelsea side would have crumbled, but the boys in blue roared back and snatched a late equaliser through Didier Drogba.
After extra time ended goalless, Chelsea had the thankless task of achieving the impossible: beating a bunch of Germans in a penalty shootout. But that they did, as after a pant-shredding series of spot kicks Bastian Schweinsteiger missed for Bayern and Drogba made no mistake for the Londoners. You could have heard a pin drop.