A Date with Destiny: The Blues' greatest UCL comebacks
Didier Drogba of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their first goal with a header during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea FC and SSC Napoli at Stamford Bridge on March 14, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Frank Lampard’s side are on the home straight of what has been a largely successful inaugural campaign in SW6 for the former England centurion.

His next task, however, is trying to overturn a three-nil deficit in their Champions League round of sixteen second leg against Bayern Munich

Three goals by the men from Bavaria, courtesy of a Serge Gnabry brace and a Robert Lewandowski tap-in, have seen the Germans take control. But don’t ever write off a Chelsea side under the cosh, especially due to the number of unavailable players they will be without tomorrow; skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and in-form American Christian Pulisic

Here’s our run-down of the greatest Champions League comebacks for the Blues since the introduction and re-branding of the old 'European Cup'. 

Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona (8th March 2005, round of 16 second-leg) 

Following on from a frantic first-leg in Barcelona, in which the Blues came unstuck due to strikes from former Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o and substitute Maxi Lopez, in a two-one defeat. 

Chelsea’s only significant contribution to the evening was a Damien Duff cross that found its way into Victor Valdes’s net courtesy of a deflection from right-back, Juliano Belletti

Jose Mourinho’s side also had their Ivorian striker, Didier Drogba, sent-off on the night, meaning they would be depleted of their usual fire-power going into the second-leg in SW6. 

The headlines from the first-leg went way beyond the football played in Catalunya, with referee on the night. Anders Frisk was accused of bringing the game into disrepute by then Chelsea assistant manager Steve Clarke, over a supposed meeting with Barcelona boss, Frank Rijkaard at half-time.

Frisk, following death threats from supporters in West London, would retire from officiating before the return-leg. Mourinho was soon labelled the “enemy of football” by the chiefs at UEFA, the European governing body of the beautiful game, over the fallout from the first-leg.

Arguably the best referee to have ever graced the game, Pierluigi Collina of Italy, was chosen to officiate what would be a fiery return leg in London. Blues fans often hail it as their greatest European night ever before the famous trophy lift in the Allianz arena some seven years later...

On the night of the match itself, the Blues made the best start possible, with three goals courtesy of Eidur Gudjohnsen, Damien Duff and now Blues boss, Frank Lampard, setting Stamford Bridge alight. 

A frantic first-half continued, as Barcelona pulled two goals back courtesy of World Player of the Year in 2005, Ronaldinho. His first was a penalty kick, following a handball from Blues full-back Paulo Ferreira. His second was an improvised toe-poke past Petr Cech from the edge of the 18-yard box. 

The second-half was nail-biting stuff for the Blues supporters, who despite leading on the night, were currently crashing out of Europe’s premier club competition in their maiden campaign under their new, fresh and young Portuguese boss. 

That was until “Captain, Leader, Legend” John Terry rose highest in the 75th minute to power his header past the hapless dive of Victor Valdes, to send Stamford Bridge into raptures. 

The four-two victory sent the Blues through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League on aggregate. They would have made it all the way to the final that year had it not been for the famous ‘ghost goal’ scored by Liverpool’s Luis Garcia in the semi-final second leg tie at Anfield, with Rafael Benitez’ Reds ultimately going onto to win the competition, beating AC Milan in the final. 

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli AET (14th March 2012, Round of 16 second-leg)

Following on from a dismal night and first-leg in Naples, where the Blues lost by three goals to one, manager Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed of his duties in SW6. His assistant, Roberto Di Matteo was tasked with leading the side for the rest of what seemed a nothing campaign. 

Di Matteo would however inspire on not just a domestic, but European front also.  

Following on from an upturn in league form, the Blues went into the second-leg in high spirits, with them firmly believing they could progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. 

They began the second-leg brightly, though it took them 28-minutes to make the breakthrough, courtesy of their Ivorian talisman, Didier Drogba. A further goal from skipper John Terry, reminiscent of his strike against Barcelona in 2005, looked to have secured safe passage into the next round of the competition, albeit via the away goals rule. 

Napoli midfielder Gökhan Inler had his say on proceedings scoring from the edge of the Blues box during the second half, meaning Di Matteo’s side would now need two goals to progress outright.

The goal needed to force the tie to extra-time came late on, with Frank Lampard converting from the penalty spot, before Branislav Ivanovic won the tie late on during the second-half of extra-time, forcing the ball home with a fine strike from inside the penalty area. 

I am sure everyone can remember another tie in the Blues run to their inaugural Champions League triumph, a special night in the Nou Camp awaited them following a two-legged victory over Portuguese outfit Benfica in the quarter-finals. 

Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (24th April 2012, Sem-final second-leg)

Following on from a one-nil victory in the semi-final first-leg at Stamford Bridge, the Blues were now faced with the extreme task of getting a positive result in the Nou Camp, the home of Champions League holders, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. Everyone still had Barcelona as their favourites to progress despite their defeat in SW6. 

The Catalonian side proved their dominance early on in the second leg, launching waves after waves of attacks, to penetrate the defensive walls of Roberto di Matteo’s side. 

Their breakthrough came via a neat finish from their holding midfielder, Spaniard, Sergio Busquets, before Blues skipper John Terry was shown a straight red card for an off the ball challenge on Alexis Sanchez

Andreas Iniesta doubled their lead to send Guardiola’s side ahead on aggregate, before Brazilian box-to-box midfielder, Ramires, scored a precious away goal with a delightful chip beyond Barcelona goalkeeper, Victor Valdes. 

There was still work to do for the away side in the second-half, with them riding their luck as Argentine magician Lionel Messi struck his second-half penalty against the upright, failing to hand Barcelona the advantage.  

The Blues were packed in two defensive units for the entirety of the second-half, stopping attack after attack in what was an accomplished display in how to park the bus. 

Chelsea had almost done all their hard work when they got their golden chance to progress to the Champions League final, with Striker Fernando Torres sent into Barcelona territory with only the ball at his feet. He galloped 50 metres unopposed with the ball, before rounding Victor Valdes and sending the Blues into a second ever Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Bavaria. We all know how that finished. 

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