Tonight is our first competitive game in Hungary but our visits there go back further, as club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton detail…
Until this season Chelsea had never faced any team from Hungary in an official competition, but the Blues have history in the capital city stretching back more than a century.
Vidi’s visit to the Bridge on 4 October produced 28 attempts on goal for Chelsea but just five on target. Cesc Fabregas was at the heart of a much-changed team and it was his delivery that produced the crucial breakthrough. Watch the highlights here.
However, this will actually be the Blues’ second visit to the 23,600 capacity Groupama Arena in Budapest. The first was a pre-season friendly in August 2014 against Ferencvaros when the Londoners were invited to open their new stadium.
‘The stadium is wonderful – I really liked the atmosphere,’ Jose Mourinho said after the 2-1 win. ‘I hope Ferencvaros can use this as a stepping stone since it would be fitting if the biggest and best teams appear here in the international cups.’
At the FIFA World Club Cup in Yokohama on 13 December 2012, European champions Chelsea became the first English team to trial goal-line technology. The Blues won the match against Monterrey of Mexico 3-1.
Chelsea also played three fixtures in Budapest way back in May 1906, after the end of the club’s very first season. Jacky Robertson’s team registered three big wins on the banks of the Danube between Friday 18 and Tuesday 22 May: a 4-0 against Budapesti, a 6-0 thrashing of Muegyetemi (Magyar) Atletikai, and finally 3-1 against Ferencvaros.
The last of those was played at Soroksari Street, Ferencvaros’s stadium before in 1911 they moved a mile down the road to the site on which the Groupama Arena now stands.
A hundred and twelve years ago the local sides were blown away by the pace and precision of the Pensioners’ passing and shooting, but complained bitterly of the visitors’ physicality.
Other noteworthy factors were the absence of box-office goalkeeper Willie Foulke, who had already left for fresh pastures and was replaced by Bob Whiting, and the emergence of new signing George Hilsdon, who netted with abandon, setting the tone for his career at Stamford Bridge.
Robertson, Chelsea’s Scottish player-manager, would return in a coaching capacity five years later, building a remarkable legacy at MTK Budapest and helping form the Hungary national team’s playing style that would wow the world in decades to come.
After he died an obituary published by another former club, Rangers, noted ‘it was often said by leaders of the game in Austria and Hungary that it was Jacky Robertson who laid the foundations of the cultured style of football played there.’
MATCHDAY 2 LINE-UPS
CHELSEA 1 VIDI 0
Europa League group stage Stamford Bridge, 04.10.18, 8pm
Chelsea (4-3-3) Arrizabalaga; Zappacosta, Cahill (c), Christensen, Emerson; Loftus-Cheek, (Barkley 64), Fabregas, Kovacic; Pedro (Hazard 54), Morata, Willian (Moses 73).
Unused subs Caballero, Alonso, Ampadu, Kante.
Head coach Maurizio Sarri
Booked Morata 66
Scorer Morata 70
Vidi (4-3-2-1) Tujvel; Fiola, Juhasz (c), Vinicius, Stopira; Nego, Hadzic (Patkai 82), Nikolov; Milanov (Hodzic 82), Huszti (Kovacs 77); Scepovic.
Unused subs Kovacsik, Tamas, Hangya, Berecz.
Manager Marko Nikolic
Booked Nego 13, Huszti 43, Milanov 56
Referee Miroslav Zelinka (Czech Republic)
Chelsea have played in Budapest five times including friendlies.
Vidi’s biggest home win in Europe
28/11/84 - Vidi 5-0 Partizan Belgrade - UEFA Cup 3rd rd 1st leg
Chelsea’s biggest away win in Europe
15/09/71 - Jeunesse Hautcharage 0-8 Chelsea - Cup Winners’ Cup 1st rd 1st leg