Champions Journalist fan reporter Theo Milki knows his team are the underdogs – but Chelsea were second favourites in 2012 too
The dust has finally settled after a chaotic and nerve-racking final day of the domestic campaign. We now know our fate: we will be playing in the Champions League once more next season. It was a season like no other with a mix of eventful, painful and cheerful moments as a Chelsea fan. However, it’s far from being over as our focus turns to Saturday.
It’s been nine years since our previous Champions League triumph, when Didier Drogba slotted in the winning penalty to turn Bayern’s stadium blue for the night. Every single Chelsea fan will forever remember where they were that night and how they reacted when that goal went in. However, it’s a distant memory for us now. A lot has changed at my football club since that evening: legends have retired and returned in different roles; managers have come and gone; and academy graduates have established themselves as first-team regulars. A new dawn, yet the same challenges and objectives.
I would be lying if I said that the idea of facing Pep Guardiola’s relentless Manchester City doesn’t frighten me, but then this is uncharted territory for them. We, on the other hand, have been here before. As Chelsea fans we have suffered on the biggest of stages, just as we have shed tears of joy and jubilance; I have experienced every possible emotion while watching my team in Champions League finals.
Not one player remains from that 2012 winning squad, but the historical importance of that victorious campaign will forever be embedded in the DNA and crest of the club. Those 11 players who step out on the pitch at the Estádio do Dragão, no matter their age or how long they have been at Chelsea, will understand the importance of such an occasion and what it means to the club and fans.
“We’ve done it before!” has echoed around the Bridge in recent years, giving us that hope to keep dreaming. I’m now getting mentally prepared for Saturday and realising that a win would mean the world to me. Maybe underdogs once again – but could it be written in the stars once again?