6 Reasons Why Galatasaray-Chelsea Will Be a Fun Series
Champions League Round of 16
Finally, we now know which teams will be facing off against one another in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. We have been wondering since September, and now, we have to wait until February when these sides play their first of two meetings.
The one match that may seem dull on paper is Galatasaray vs. Chelsea, but it must be noted that this series will be anything but. These teams may not have history against one another but there is so much going on with so much more on the line. Before we get to all of that, let's take a quick look at how the clubs got to this point.
First, we start with the Turkish champions who were manhandled twice by Real Madrid by the scores of 6-1 and 4-1. The defeated Copenhagen 3-1 and lost to them 1-0, but they did manage to draw Juventus 2-2 then in the ultimate match, they won 1-0 on home soil to secure their place in the next stage with a total of only seven points.
The London reps, led by Jose Mourinho, lost twice to FC Basel by the scores of 2-1 and 1-0, but they still managed to win the group. They defeated Schalke 3-0 on both occasions and ripped Steau Bucharest 4-0 on the road and squeaked by 1-0 at home.
Now, these two sides will look to continue their European story by facing off in what is expected to be a very physical, smart, tactical and star-studded series. Both teams have money and are never afraid to spend it. This can play a huge factor when it comes to the expensive guys doing work to win the big one.
Now, we finally take a look at why this will be something special...
6. Turk Telekom Arena
The last time out that Chelsea played in Istanbul for a Champions League match was back in 2008 in the quarterfinals against Fenerbahce. The final score was 2-1 awarded to the hosts, with the Blues only goal arriving due to an own goal scored by Deivid De Souza. Lucky for the Londoners, they would end up winning the home leg by a score of 2-0 to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
Now, five years later, they return to the field of the reigning champions, Galatasaray, to conquer their demons and perhaps leave with a smile on their faces. They have a new coach, some new players and a winning mentality. However, this is known as one of the toughest arenas to play in, especially for foreigners.
5. Roberto Mancini
The Italian manager has a history with Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, as it dates back to last season's UCL group stage between Manchester City (Mancini) and Real Madrid (Mourinho).
Frankly, both managers watched their team splay brilliantly, but on both occasions, City was ever so unlucky with a 3-2 road loss and a 1-1 home draw.
Now, both clubs have led their new clubs to this stage and know that they will have to be absolutely perfect in order to advance to the quarters.
4. Stamford Bridge
This is one of the most beautiful stadiums not just in England but Europe as a whole. The fans never stop cheering, the weather is usually crisp around winter time and the game of soccer is like a religion.
When the second leg is played here in March, the Turkish side better be defending a rather healthy lead because anything can happen on this ground, usually in favor of the home side.
3. Jose Mourinho
This man is known as the "Special One" since he has masterminded the game of soccer in his own way. However, his team still has trouble playing as perfectly as he would like them to, but he is still working on that.
Besides the fact that this is going to be a beautiful series, this man is going to be going up against two of his former players at the same time. He adored both guys and won trophies with their assistance. They are both capable of holding the responsibility of having teams depend on their skill alone to win games.
Who are these mystery guys? Read on to find out.
2. Wesley Sneijder
This man will be facing his former manager for the first time since he left his post as manager of Inter Milan. He won the 2010 Champions League trophy under his guidance. In addition, he was apparently being courted by the man to bring him over to Stamford Bridge to wear the Chelsea blue.
When Sneijder wears the No. 10 of Gala and faces Mourinho's Chelsea, he will have some butterflies as he will look to both impress and mess one of his favorite managers ever.
1. Didier Drogba
This is the man who scored the equalizing goal in Extra Time and the game-winning penalty kick in Munich against FC Bayern to lift the 2012 UCL trophy. He instantly became Chelsea's favorite modern player ever. Now, he returns home wearing different colors.
He was brought to Chelsea FC by Mourinho himself, so now he will be facing him for the first time as manager of his old club. Last season, he scored against his Madrid in Istanbul in the red and yellow of Gala.
Now, this is a totally different ball game.