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Žilina begin with stern Chelsea challenge

Chelsea have reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in four of the last six campaigns and represent a mighty first test for a MŠK Žilina team who are making their debut in the competition.

Žilina begin with stern Chelsea challenge
Žilina begin with stern Chelsea challenge ©UEFA.com

In their debut UEFA Champions League group stage campaign MŠK Žilina could scarcely have been given a harder opening fixture than Chelsea FC, semi-finalists in four of the last six campaigns.

Previous meetings
• The sides have met once before, in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. It finished 5-0 on aggregate to the London side who won 2-0 in Zilina and 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. John Terry and Frank Lampard played in both games.

• Both sides have 100% records against other teams from their opponents' country. In Žilina's case it is just one game, a 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage fixture away to Aston Villa FC which brought a memorable 2-1 victory. Defender Vladimír Leitner scored one of their two goals.

• Chelsea beat ŠK Slovan Bratislava 2-0 at home and away in the first round of the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

Match background
• Žilina came through three qualifying rounds to become the third Slovakian team to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage, after MFK Košice in 1997/98 and FC Artmedia Petržalka eight years later. In the second qualifying round a 1-0 away defeat by Birkirkara FC was overturned with Žilina's 3-0 victory at home.

• In the third qualifying round the Slovakian champions again scored three times at home, securing a 4-2 win overall after the first game with PFC Litex Lovech had ended 1-1.

• In the play-off round a 2-0 first-leg win at AC Sparta Praha put Pavel Hapal's side in the ascendancy. At home Momodou Ceesay's superb bicycle kick – the third consecutive UEFA Champions League game in which he had scored – completed a 3-0 aggregate success.

• Chelsea have won six Matchday 1 fixtures in eight attempts and in five of the last seven campaigns they have finished as winners of their group, qualifying for the knockout rounds in the other two campaigns as well.

• Last season Carlo Ancelotti's team bowed out at the round of 16 last term, losing 2-1 away to FC Internazionale Milano before going down 1-0 in the return. It was the third successive season that they had lost to the eventual winners.

• Defeats in Italy have spoiled Chelsea's impressive away record in the competition which before the game at San Siro had brought just one defeat in ten outings – not including their loss on penalties in the 2008 final in Moscow against Manchester United FC. Prior to losing at Inter they had won three and drawn six with just a single loss, 3-1 at AS Roma in the 2008/09 group stage. In last season's group stage, Chelsea won at APOEL FC and FC Porto, both 1-0, and drew 2-2 at Club Atlético de Madrid.

• Two seasons ago Žilina failed to win at home in the UEFA Cup group stage, a 2-1 defeat by Hamburger SV followed by a 0-0 draw with SK Slavia Praha.

Team ties
• In 2008 Ceesay went to London with a view to joining Chelsea but after a few days, and without the administrative details being finalised, he moved on to Belgian side KVC Westerlo.

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