Chelsea have won the prestigious UEFA Champions League on two occasions, with the Blues first crowned champions of Europe in the 2011/12 season, before repeating the feat in 2020/21.
These two victories in the competition make Chelsea the third-most successful English team in the Champions League (and its predecessor the European Cup), behind Manchester United with three and Liverpool with an impressive six. Chelsea never managed to qualify for the old European Cup but have consistently entered the Champions League doing so across 19 seasons since 1999/00, which was their first entrance into the UCL.
What Years Did Chelsea Win the Champions League?
Here we take a closer look at the two Champions League triumphs that will live long in the hearts and minds of Chelsea fans.
- Manager: Roberto Di Matteo
- Score in Final: 1-1 (4-3 on penalties)
- Runners Up: Bayern Munich
- Attendance: 62,500
Having sacked manager, Andre Villas-Boas, in March 2012, Chelsea’s first Champions League success was actually under the management of a caretaker boss, Roberto Di Matteo. Under Villas-Boas, the Blues had topped their UCL group, but the club’s poor league form led to him being sacked, leaving Di Matteo at the helm for the knockout stages.
Chelsea’s road to the final began in fairly rocky fashion, as they lost 3-1 to Napoli in the first leg of the Round of 16, before managing to pull it back to 5-4 on aggregate in the second leg. They were then able to defeat both Benfica and Barcelona to progress to the club’s second Champions League final, which was to be played in Munich at the Allianz Arena. Their opponents were Bayern Munich, who were therefore effectively playing at home, giving the Germans a distinct advantage.
Normal & Extra Time
As 62,500 spectators looked on, Bayern dominated the game but struggled to break the deadlock early on. Arjen Robben was denied by a fantastic save by Petr Cech, who was in superb form for Chelsea. The Dutch winger also missed another key chance later in the game, as the German side continually broke down the Chelsea defence but were unable to find the net.
This all changed in the 83rd minute when Bayern took the lead through Thomas Muller, who headed the German giants in front from a Toni Kroos cross, leaving the Blues with a lot of work to do. This was a situation for a big game player, and Didier Drogba was happy to take on that role. The Ivorian leapt to fire a bullet header past Manuel Neuer in the 88th minute from a pinpoint Juan Mata corner, taking the game to extra time.
In extra time, the Germans continued to struggle to beat Petr Cech, who was playing out of his skin, including saving a penalty from Arjen Robben, as the Dutch winger’s wretched time in the final continued. It remained 1-1 after 120 minutes, and penalties were required to separate the sides.
Phillip Lahm stepped up and converted Bayern’s first penalty past the diving Cech. Disaster then struck for Chelsea, as Juan Mata’s weak effort was easily saved by Neuer. Advantage Bayern. Mario Gomez made it 2-0 before David Luiz pulled it back to 2-1 with a rocket. Goalkeeper, Neuer, decided to step up for Bayern’s third pen, which he skilfully placed in the bottom corner; Frank Lampard quickly responded by smashing his spot-kick down the middle to make it 3-2.
Fortune quickly turned for Chelsea, as the valiant Cech, who had gone the right way for every penalty so far, denied Ivica Olic. This allowed Ashley Cole to step up and make it 3-3, all level for the fifth penalty. It was Bastian Schweinsteiger who stepped up for the Germans, but he was unable to overcome the magnificent Cech, who kept it level, leaving the trophy open for Chelsea to grab. Man of the moment, Drogba, did just that, sending the German stopper the wrong way and slotting home for the West London side, securing Chelsea’s first-ever European cup, which was the first time a London team had ever won the competition.
- Manager: Thomas Tuchel
- Score in Final: 1-0
- Runners Up: Manchester City
- Attendance: 14,110 (Estadio do Dragao)
Chelsea’s second Champions League success came in 2020/21 season, in which the final, which was originally scheduled to be played in St Petersburg, was moved to Porto, to the Estadio do Dragoa. However, due to the global health restrictions, the stadium was limited to a third of its overall capacity, with only 14,110 spectators able to attend, meaning neither the Blues nor Manchester City, their opponents, were able to bring a significant number of fans.
Chelsea’s route to the amended final had been fairly smooth: they topped their group before knockout-round victories of 3-1, 2-1 and 3-1 over Atletico Madrid, Porto and Real Madrid respectively. This propelled Tuchel’s side to a third Champions League final, with the German boss hunting his first European honour.
The game began fairly equally, with both sides having early chances but neither able to break the deadlock. However, three minutes prior to the half-time interval, Kai Havertz was played in by Mason Mount and was able to round the sprawling Ederson and tap the ball into the vacant City net, making it 1-0 to the Blues. This remained the only goal of the tie, as Chelsea managed to repel Man City’s second-half fight back, securing their second Champions League trophy for the cabinet.
The game was tainted in the eyes of some by a controversial challenge on Kevin De Bruyne by Antonio Rudiger, who roughly collided with the Belgian, breaking his nose in the process and forcing the midfield maestro off the field. Rudiger was only booked for this foul, but his removal of De Bruyne nullified City’s attacking threat for the remainder of the match. After emerging victorious in the final, Chelsea qualified for the UEFA Super Cup, which they also went on to win, marking a hugely impressive first season for Thomas Tuchel, although his team only finished fourth in the Premier League.
Who Has Scored the Most Champions League Goals for Chelsea?
Chelsea’s all-time Champions League goal scorer is Didier Drogba, with the Ivorian netting a total of 36 times in Europe’s top competition for the Blues; none of these more important than his iconic equaliser in the 2011/12 final.
The ever-present Frank Lampard is second with 23 goals in 104 UCL games, which is also the second most appearances in the competition for a Chelsea player. Only John Terry has more, with the ex-captain playing 111 games in the competition for Chelsea.
Are Chelsea Likely to Win the Champions League Again Soon?
Since winning the 2020/21 iteration of the competition, you would probably say that Chelsea have progressed under Thomas Tuchel, finishing third in the league in the 2021/22 season, but they have just lacked the cutting edge to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City. Both of these sides have stronger squads than Chelsea, but that didn’t stop the Blues from being crowned champions of Europe in 2020/21, so they are definitely in with a chance of going all the way again.
Tuchel’s side certainly aren’t favourites and there will be even more pressure in the coming seasons on Man City to win the competition, especially as they have added Erling Haaland to their already incredibly talented squad. Despite this, Chelsea have also strengthened their squad in the transfer window and are in with a chance of getting to the latter stages of the Champions League as things stand.