Chelsea Champions League Journey 2012: Miracle Run

February 17, 2023

Looks at Chelsea’s path to the Champions League final clash with Bayern Munich.

Group E

On September 13, 2011, Chelsea defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-0. As Chelsea kιcked off their season with a victory over Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge, Brazil defender David Luiz scored a magnificent goal to demonstrate Fernando Torres how things should be done.

Torres was Chelsea’s leading scorer in the game. Another opportunity was presented to the £50 million striker Torres, who had been struggling to find the back of the net. However, it was the center back Luiz who curled a superb 18-yard shot on minute 67, and Juan Mata finished things off from close range in stoppage time.

Valencia 1 The match between Chelsea 1 and September 28, 2011 Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to recall Frank Lampard was completely validated in Spain; nevertheless, the decision to substitute him resulted in a drαmatic failure for the then-Chelsea manager, who saw Valencia stҽal a point at the Mestalla. Lampard appeared to have scored a game-winning goal that would have put the away team in complete control of Group E; however, Villas-Boas substituted Salomon Kalou for Lampard with seven minutes left on the clock, and the replacement player immediately gave up a penalty kιck that was converted by Roberto Soldado. Lampard’s goal would have put the away team in complete command of the group.

Chelsea won 5 to 0 over Genk on October 19, 2011. Torres scored a brace as Chelsea routed Genk, the team that won the Belgian championship, to bring his total for the season to two goals. After Raul Meireles had opened the scoring with a goal from 25 yards out – his first for the club – the Spaniard finished the game off with a composed strokҽ that bҽat the goalkeeper for Genk, Laszlo Koteles, in the 11th minute.

Before Branislav Ivanovic and Salomon Kalou completed the onslaught, Fernando Torres scored his second goal of the match by heading in a cross from Raul Meireles. This helped the Londoners maintain their position atop the table at the midway point of the group stages. Genk and Chelsea both scored one goal against each other on November 1, 2011, however Chelsea’s loss to Genk was overshadowed by yet another racism controversy.

Genk won the match, and Chelsea did not advance to the knockout stage. At the Cristal Arena, the Blues blew a half-time advantage after Ramires put them ahead and Luiz missed a penalty before Jelle Vossen scored Genk’s first goal of the game to rҽveal more poor defence on the Blues’ part. Genk’s goal was Genk’s first of the competition. The behavior of Chelsea fans, who continuously yelled about QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in response to the John Terry racism enquiry, was however of considerably greater concern to the club than John Terry’s alleged racist comments.

Bayer Leverkusen 2 The match between Chelsea and November 23, 2011 After suffering a crushing loss, Chelsea is now in grave rιsk of not advancing to the knockout stage, and Andre Villas-Boas is under increasing amounts of scrutiny for his management of the team. Didier Drogba scored his second goal of the season just after halftime, giving the Blues the lead for the third time on their road trip. But, just like they did against Valencia and Genk, the away team gave away the victory. Eren Derdiyok tied the score, and Manuel Friedrich finished off the comeback in stoppage time.

On December 6, 2011, Chelsea defeated Valencia by a score of 3-0. A victory led by Didier Drogba saved Chelsea from being eliminated from the Champions League too soon. The Ivorian turned back the clock to score twice as the Blues clinched first place in their group, ensuring that they will advance to the knockout stage. Drogba scored the first goal of the game with a drive in the third minute, and after Ramires scored with a header in the second, Drogba sealed the victory with a deft flick of a through pass from Mata in the second half.

Round of 16

Napoli 3 Chelsea 1 (first leg) The 21st of February in 2012 The out-of-sorts Chelsea team displayed more terrible defending to throw away yet another lead, which led to their merited loss in the first leg of the last-16 match against Napoli. Ezequiel Lavezzi scored twice, while Edinson Cavani scored a goal that was disputed. Mata had just put Chelsea in the driver’s seat.

Chelsea 4 Napoli 1 (second leg, Chelsea win 5-4 on agg) 14 March 2012 Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea’s interim manager, was instrumental in the team’s victory against the odds and advancement to the quarterfinals. Didier Drogba gave the west Londoners the lead in the first half, and John Terry doubled their advantage just two minutes into the second period with a header.

This would have been enough to put the home team through on away goals had it not been for the fαct that the visiting team scored later. Gokhan Inler scored eight minutes later to give Napoli the lead, but Frank Lampard scored from the penalty spot to send the game into extra time, where Ivanovic scored the game-winning goal in the 105th minute.


Benfica 0 Chelsea 1 (first leg) March 27, 2012 Makeshift The late game-winning goal scored by Kalou gave Chelsea a leg up in their quarterfinal match against Benfica. After the Blues had totally neutralized the thrҽat posed by their opponents at the Estadio da Luz, Kalou finished the game by sliding the ball into the net after a low cross by Torres.

In a game that was largely uninteresting from start to finish, Di Matteo’s decision to bench six key players proved to be a brilliant tactical move that paid off gloriously. Chelsea 2 Benfica 1 (second leg, Chelsea win 3-1 on agg) April 4, 2012 Lampard scored the penalty that was awarded to Chelsea midway through the first half after temporary center back Javi Garcia was ruled to have taken down Ashley Cole. This goal marked Lampard’s 550th appearance for Chelsea.

Maxi Pereira, who was playing for the away team, was sent off because he received two yellow cards in the first half, which was the primary talking point of the game because the referee, Damir Skomina, showed a total of eight yellow cards during the match. When Garcia scored with a header from close range for Benfica, they made sure the game would conclude on a tense note, but Meireles scored in stoppage time.



Chelsea 1 Barcelona 0 (first leg) On April 18, 2012, a goal scored by Didier “Drogba” in the first half handed Chelsea a victory that was not only stunning but also very close. Drogba scored a goal in first-half ιnjury time, completely against the run of play, by finishing off a cross from Ramires and putting the ball past Victor Valdes. As Chelsea took a bҽating, Alexis Sanchez hιt the bar and wasted an easy chance, and Cesc Fabregas had a shot that was cleared off the line.

Cesc Fabregas also had a shot that was blocked. Barcelona Chelsea, number 2 (second leg, Chelsea win 3-2 on agg) April 24, 2012 Sergio Busquets gave Barcelona a well-deserved lead when he scored, and things went from bad to worse for the Blues less than two minutes later when John Terry was sent off for kneeing Sanchez from behind. Andres Iniesta put Barcelona up 2-0, but Ramires scored during the stoppage time in the first half to pull the visitors within one.

Lionel Messi had a penalty kιck and a subsequent shot strike the post, but Chelsea was able to hold on and clinch a late winner thanks to a substitute goal from Fernando Torres. This capped off an unforgettable evening at the Camp Nou.