Tonight may be our first competitive meeting with a Hungarian side, but we still have a past with teams from that country, as club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton detail…
Chelsea have never hosted a competitive game against Hungarian opposition, but visitors from that country, Voros Lobogo (or Red Banner, now MTK Budapest), provided memorable friendly opposition for Ted Drake’s team at Stamford Bridge on the afternoon of 15 December 1954. Interest in the touring Eastern Bloc team was high because the tactically innovative Hungary national side had recently demolished England 6-3 and 7-1.
Among the ‘Magical Magyars’ stars in the Red Banner side at the Bridge were Nandor Hidegkuti (pictured top right, with Roy Bentley), Peter Palotas and Karoly Sandor, and they wowed a big crowd that had paid more than usual at the turnstiles to fund their lofty appearance fees. The match finished 2-2 and included a succession of missed penalties. British Pathe newsreel cameras captured the moments, which can be viewed below...
There might have been a competitive rematch in the inaugural UEFA European Cup in 1955/56 after the Blues won the league title that season and Red Banner were runners-up in Nemzeti Bajnoksag 1. However, while Red Banner accepted their invitation (reaching the quarter-finals) Chelsea, under pressure from the Football League, fatefully did not.
Goals from Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda, both set up by the imperious Didier Drogba, defeated Liverpool in a league game and sent Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues back to the summit on Sunday 4 October 2009.
We have played several other friendlies with Hungarian teams over the years, including during a European tour at the end of our first season in 1906. We played 10 matches between 13 and 27 May in Copenhagen, Prague, Budapest and Vienna.
Chelsea’s biggest home win in Europe
29/09/71 - Chelsea 13-0 Jeunesse Hautcharage - Cup Winners’ Cup 1st rd 2nd leg
Vidi’s biggest away win in Europe
09/08/12 - Gent 0-3 Vidi - Europa League 3rd qual 2nd leg