The Blues have our Champions League destiny in our hands when we take on Lille tonight and we provide a timely reminder of a few other momentous nights at the Bridge when our group stage fate was on the line.
The competitive nature of Group H means there is still all to play for on matchday six for Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia, with the Dutch and Spanish sides in our group facing off in Amsterdam.
Three into two simply does not go, however, so one side is going to be left disappointed at the conclusion of what promises to be another thrilling night of action in Europe’s premier club competition.
We’ve managed to make it out of the group stage in 14 of our previous 15 campaigns in the Champions League – the exception being 2012/13, when even 10 points wasn’t enough – but it’s not often we’ve needed a result in the sixth round of matches.
If the players need any further inspiration, they can look back on these previous occasions when we’ve come up trumps at the final hurdle to seal our progress.Back in the 1999/00 season, during our first foray into the Champions League, we needed to win at home to Hertha Berlin in order to guarantee our adventure would continue.
There was plenty of attacking talent we could look to for inspiration against the German club, but instead it was perhaps the two unlikeliest goalscorers – well, apart from goalkeeper Ed de Goey – who got us through.
Two-time Champions League winner Didier Deschamps had never previously scored in the competition, but he smashed a thunderous shot past Gabor Kiraly to put us in front.
Then, another European Cup winner in Albert Ferrer, who was known for his defensive efforts rather than anything he did in the attacking third, produced a striker’s finish from Dennis Wise’s assist to put us 2-0 up and on our way through.
It was a first and only Chelsea goal for two dependable players – what a time for them to do it…
By 2008 we were regular contenders for the trophy and, indeed, had come agonisingly close to winning it for the first time in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United.
Come the end of the following season’s group stage, we were in need of a result against Romanian side Cluj on matchday six to ensure we’d reach the last 16 for the sixth consecutive season.
Salomon Kalou put us in front just before half-time, ignoring the mayhem going on around him at a set-piece to bring the ball down and fire in from close range.
However, Cluj conjured up an unlikely equaliser after the break and though our result was ultimately rendered meaningless by results elsewhere, Didier Drogba came off the bench to fire us to victory. It was a landmark goal for the Ivorian as it made him our all-time leading scorer in European competition.
We all remember Drogba as the ultimate man for the big occasion, and so it proved the next time our Champions League fate was on the line going into the final game of the group phase in the 2011/12. Of course, we all know how that campaign finished…
Valencia were the opponents at Stamford Bridge and we made the perfect start in front of a raucous Stamford Bridge crowd, as Drogba fired us in front after only three minutes.
This was one of those nights when our legendary No.11 was simply unplayable. He turned provider for Ramires with a barnstorming run to tee up the Brazilian midfielder to double our lead and then added a third himself for good measure.
By the time we embarked on our 2015/16 group stage campaign, Drogba had departed Stamford Bridge for the second time – and in his absence, Willian stepped up to the plate as our go-to-guy in the Champions League.
The Brazilian, who went on to be crowned our Player of the Year, scored in four of our first five matches with goals from outside the box, but still that wasn’t enough to secure our progress. We went into our last game against Porto needing a result to keep us in the competition.
An early own-goal put us ahead, but it could have been a nervy evening had it not been for a moment of true quality just after half-time. Of course, it was always going to be provided by Willian – from inside the box, but still one for the highlight reel – to seal a 2-0 win.
Then, after a year’s absence, we were back in the Champions League for the 2017/18 season as Premier League winners, but much like this term, we were dealt a cruel hand in the group stage as we had to take on Roma and Atletico Madrid.
Going into the final game at the Bridge against Atleti – who had reached two of the previous four finals – we knew a draw would take us through, but the tension was almost unbearable after Saul Niguez put the visitors ahead against the run of play after the break.
However, Eden Hazard forced an own-goal from Stefan Savic, formerly of Manchester City, late on and despite throwing the kitchen sink at the Spanish club in a bid to find the winning goal which would have seen us top the group, a point was good enough to ensure it was job done in terms of qualification.