Posted on: Mon 04 Feb 2013

With the Blues making our Europa League bow next week against Sparta Prague, we take a look at how our opponents have been getting ready for the first meeting between the sides in 10 years…

Sparta, who are currently in the middle of a winter break, have been preparing for the game with a two-week training camp in Spain, where they were scheduled to play three friendly matches.

Over the course of the January transfer window, they have bolstered their squad with the addition of three new players, including one who may be familiar to Chelsea supporters.

Lukas Vacha, who plays in the centre of midfield, was the first new signing at the beginning of the month, moving to the club from champions Slovan Liberec, and he was followed soon after by David Lafata, who topped the goalscoring charts in the Gambrinus Liga for the past two seasons.

Sparta completed their business with the signing of former West Bromwich Albion striker Roman Bednar, who impressed while on trial at the club and signed a one-year contract.

Petr Cech's former club qualified for the knockout stages of the competition having finished as runners-up in Group I behind Lyon, while domestically they are currently third in the Czech top-flight.

Sparta will return to league action three days after the second leg of our Europa League clash when they face FC Slovacko.

The two teams last met back in the Champions League group stages in 2003. Chelsea ran out 1-0 winners in Prague, while the game back in London ended 0-0.

Chelsea take on Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge on Thursday 21 February, kick-off 8.05pm. Tickets for the game are now on general sale (maximum four per person) at a reduced rate of £30 for adults and £15 for juniors and seniors.

Tickets are available from the box office, online or via the call centre on 0871 984 1905.