Ladies: Euro retrospective
Inside Blue Tue 3 Oct 2017
Chelsea Ladies take on Bayern Munich to kick-off their third straight Women's Champions League campaign. Here's a reminder of the Blues' previous European adventures.
Having finished second in the 2014 WSL, Emma Hayes' squad qualified for the Champions League for the first time ever.
However, with that season's competition already underway, the Blues had to wait a year to debut in Europe, by which time they had won the Women's FA Cup and WSL to secure the first major silverware in the club's history.
A week on from sealing the second half of that Double, it was straight into the Champions League – and we begin our story of Chelsea Ladies' European history with a so-called Battle of Britain against Scottish giants Glasgow City.
Cheered on by a crowd of 1,100 supporters at Wheatsheaf Park, the Blues emerged as 1-0 winners in the first leg thanks to a wonderful strike by Fran Kirby, who skipped past one defender before rifling home a spectacular goal from the edge of the box.
A few months earlier Kirby had been starring for Reading in the second tier of English football before a fine World Cup campaign with England was followed by a move to Chelsea – and she was already writing a huge part in the club's history.
The job was only half done as the Blues travelled to Glasgow for the second leg, but a clinical display at the Excelsior Stadium ensured we ran out 4-0 winners on aggregate. Gilly Flaherty's header (pictured) put the seal on the win after a fierce effort from Eniola Aluko and another goal for Kirby.
Awaiting Chelsea in the last 16 was Wolfsburg, perennial challengers in the latter stages of the competition, and the two sides were locked at 1-1 in the second half of the first leg at Wheatsheaf Park, with the Blues drawing level through an own goal by Babett Peter. Missed chances in the wake of that came back to haunt them, however, as Caroline Graham Hansen scored a crucial late winner.
The German side's experience showed in the second leg, too, and they produced a fine performance to win 2-0 in front of their own fans to end the Blues' first Champions League campaign at the second hurdle.
The two sides were matched up again in the 2016/17 season, on this occasion a round earlier in the last 32, but this time there was a different venue for the first leg of the tie. For the first-time ever, Chelsea Ladies would play a competitive fixture at Stamford Bridge.
While the occasion itself was memorable for those of a Blues persuasion, the result certainly wasn't, as Hungarian striker Zsanett Jakabfi scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win for Wolfsburg which left Hayes and her players with a mountain to climb in the return.
However, a much-improved performance in Germany saw Aluko give us the lead, and had Karen Carney's shot after the break found net instead of woodwork, a grandstand finish would have been in the offing. As it was, Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir's late equaliser ensured it was another frustrating night, but heads could be held high after a spirited effort.