Valencia CF will be looking to avenge last season's quarter-final defeat when Chelsea FC became the first English team to beat them at the Mestalla.
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Valencia CF begin their home campaign in the UEFA Champions League with revenge on their minds as they welcome Chelsea FC back to the Mestalla six months after the London club removed them from the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition.
• The Spanish side started their 2007/08 UEFA Champions League campaign with a commendable 1-0 away victory against FC Schalke 04. Meanwhile, Chelsea could only manage a 1-1 home draw with Rosenborg BK on Matchday 1. It proved to be the last game in charge for José Mourinho who left the manager's position at Stamford Bridge by mutual consent that same week.
• A 90th-minute strike from Michael Essien helped the Blues to come from behind to win 2-1 in Valencia and reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the third time in four seasons. For the Spanish club it was a disappointing end to their fifth attempt to land the trophy after they had earned a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, David Silva's stunning strike on the half-hour later cancelled out by Didier Drogba’s header.
• Chelsea’s victory was the only time Valencia, finalists in both 1999/00 and 2000/01, showed any weakness on home soil in last year's competition. After winning 3-0 in the home leg of their third qualifying round contest with FC Salzburg they then gained maximum points in their three home games in Group D before holding FC Internazionale Milano 0-0, a result which was sufficient to send them through to meet Chelsea. In those five fixtures they conceded just a single goal, to AS Roma on Matchday 2.
• Following the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, the English side had looked to be on their way out of the competition when Fernando Morientes shot Valencia in front in the 32nd minute. However, Andriy Shevchenko levelled from close range seven minutes after the break, and Chelsea were rewarded for their tireless second-half endeavour in the final seconds as Essien beat Santiago Cañizares with an angled low shot to set up a meeting with eventual runners-up Liverpool FC.
• On the previous occasion an English team travelled to the Mestalla there were contrasting fortunes for Chelsea’s London rivals. Arsenal FC went there in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League second group stage and lost 2-1, although Thierry Henry's strike did break a formidable sequence - in the previous five meetings with English opposition at their ground, Valencia had not conceded a single goal. In fact before Essien worked his magic, Valencia had only once conceded more than a single goal in home games against English teams – in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup second round when they drew 2-2 with Liverpool FC.
• In total those twelve fixtures had produced seven wins and five draws for Valencia who, under Quique Sánchez Flores, finished fourth in the Primera División and booked their ticket for the group stage with a 5-1 aggregate victory over IF Elfsborg in the third qualifying round and will be looking to restore that dominance again.
• Valencia owed their first two European trophies – the 1979/80 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Super Cup the following season - to victories against English opposition, seeing off Arsenal FC in the first instance following a penalty shoot-out, and then triumphing on away goals against Nottingham Forest FC.
• Chelsea, who are bidding to go further than their three UEFA Champions League semi-final appearances in four seasons, earned draws on their previous two visits to Spain before last season. Both came against FC Barcelona, in last season's group stage and again in the previous season's first knockout round. However on the latter occasion the 1-1 scoreline meant they bowed out of the competition after the first leg had gone the way of Ronaldinho and co.
• Those draws ended a run of four successive defeats while in a total of nine games in Spain they have only registered a single victory – against Real Betis Balompié in the quarter-finals of the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, when they won 2-1. Their record is played nine, won two, drawn two, lost five.
• Two significant Chelsea victories against Spanish opponents came on neutral soil. They played Real Madrid CF in the 1970/71 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in Athens with Chelsea winning the replay 2-1 after a 1-1 draw. The teams also met in the 1998 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco, Chelsea winning 1-0.