Chelsea v Slavia Praha background

A late first-leg goal from Marcos Alonso earned Chelsea a win at Slavia Praha, who must now end the Blues' unbeaten run.

Marcos Alonso (right) celebrates scoring the only goal of the first leg with his Chelsea team-mates
Marcos Alonso (right) celebrates scoring the only goal of the first leg with his Chelsea team-mates ©AFP/Getty Images

A 1-0 first-leg win in the Czech Republic has put Chelsea in a strong position in their quarter-final tie against Slavia Praha. Should the London club extend their unbeaten run in the competition to a record-equalling 15th match, they will be through to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals for the second time.

• Chelsea have won ten of their 11 matches in this UEFA Europa League campaign, drawing the other. They dominated Group L in the autumn before coasting to a 5-1 aggregate victory over Malmö in the round of 32 and then overwhelming Dynamo Kyiv 8-0 over the two legs in the round of 16, Olivier Giroud's hat-trick helping them to a 5-0 victory in the Ukrainian capital after they had won the first leg 3-0 in west London.

• Slavia made it through the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time, finishing runners-up to Zenit in Group C with ten points. They knocked Genk out of the round of 32 with a 4-1 second-leg win in Belgium following a 0-0 draw in Prague, then came out on top of a dramatic, goal-laden round of 16 tie with Sevilla, a late extra-time strike bringing a 4-3 win in Prague after they had drawn the first game 2-2 in southern Spain.

Highlights: Slavia Praha 0-1 Chelsea
Highlights: Slavia Praha 0-1 Chelsea

Previous meetings
• The first leg of this tie, which brought the clubs together for the first time in UEFA competition, looked set to finish goalless until Chelsea's Marcos Alonso won the game with an 86th-minute header from Willian's cross.

• Chelsea are now unbeaten in seven matches against Czech clubs though they have won just one of the previous three at home, drawing their last two against Slavia’s city rivals Sparta Praha – 0-0 in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage and 1-1 in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32, Eden Hazard scoring a stunning added-time equaliser in the Stamford Bridge return to take the London club through to the next round of a competition they would go on to win.

• Slavia have won just one of their ten UEFA fixtures against English opposition and even that victory – 2-1 at home to Leeds in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup quarter-finals – proved insufficient as they had lost the first leg 3-0. Slavia have also lost their two other two-legged ties against English clubs, both in the UEFA Cup against Tottenham Hotspur. Their heaviest European defeat was also against English opposition in London – 0-7 away to Arsenal in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Willian on his match-winning assist
Willian on his match-winning assist

Form guide
Chelsea
• Chelsea finished fifth in defence of their Premier League title last season, and beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final to book a first ever place in the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• The London side eased through to the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, doing the double over PAOK (1-0 away, 4-0 home) and BATE Borisov (3-1 home, 1-0 away) before Vidi, who had lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, denied them a clean sweep with a 2-2 draw in Budapest on matchday six. In the round of 32 they defeated Malmö away (2-1) and at home (3-0) before sweeping aside Dynamo Kyiv with the third highest winning margin of any UEFA Europa League knockout phase tie.

• This is Chelsea's second appearance in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, their first, in 2012/13, having concluded with victory in the competition overall. Their road to that final in Amsterdam, where they defeated Benfica 2-1, incorporated three successive 3-1 home wins after that 1-1 draw against Sparta. They overcame Russian side Rubin Kazan 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter-final.

• Chelsea are now 14 games unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League, including the last three matches of their victorious 2013 campaign, the draw at Vidi the only game they did not win. They have yet to suffer a home defeat in this competition, winning all of their last eight, with Sparta still the only side to deny them victory at Stamford Bridge.

• Chelsea have never been eliminated from UEFA competition after recording an away first-leg win, winning 11 ties out of 11. The most recent was in this season's round of 32 when they beat Malmö 2-1 away and then 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. The last of the four ties in which they won the away first leg 1-0 was that 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32 contest against Sparta Praha.

Five #UEL quarter-final stunners
Five #UEL quarter-final stunners

Slavia
• As runners-up to Viktoria Plzeň in the 2017/18 Czech Liga, Slavia earned a spot in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, where defeat by Dynamo Kyiv (1-1 home, 0-2 away) sent them into the UEFA Europa League group stage. They won the Czech Cup last term, defeating Jablonec 3-1 in the final.

• Slavia's two previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, in 2009/10 and 2017/18, both ended unsuccessfully, but they made it third time lucky this term, scoring just four goals in their six games but finishing above København and Bordeaux.

• UEFA Cup semi-finalists in 1995/96, Slavia's most recent appearance in the quarter-finals of a European competition was that 1999/2000 UEFA Cup tie against Leeds.

• The 4-1 triumph at Genk is one of only three wins in Slavia's last 27 European away fixtures (D10 L14). They have failed to score in three of their six away games this season – defeats at Dynamo, Zenit (0-1) and Bordeaux (0-2).

• Slavia have lost all six UEFA competition ties in which they were defeated at home in the first leg, including those two UEFA Cup contests against Tottenham (0-1 home, 0-1 away in the 2006/07 first round; 1-2 home, 1-1 away in the 2007/08 round of 32). Their heaviest home and aggregate reverse was the most recent such tie, when they lost both legs 0-3 against Anderlecht in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

Ones to watch: Callum Hudson-Odoi
Ones to watch: Callum Hudson-Odoi

Links and trivia
• Slavia's Slovakian international Miroslav Stoch joined Chelsea as a teenager but made only five appearances for the club, in 2008/09.

• Tomáš Souček was in the Czech Republic side that lost their opening UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier 5-0 to England at Wembley Stadium on 22 March, with Slavia colleagues Milan Škoda and Lukáš Masopust both appearing as substitutes. Chelsea's Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi, making his international debut, both came off the bench for England.

• Slavia's tally of four goals in the group stage was the fewest by any of the 32 qualified teams, including the eight who finished third in their UEFA Champions League group. They had scored ten in three knockout fixtures prior to drawing a blank in the first leg against Chelsea.

• The Czech side are one of two clubs appearing in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the first time, Eintracht Frankfurt being the other.

• Chelsea are the only one of the eight quarter-finalists who have won the UEFA Europa League before, though three others have lifted the trophy in its former guise as the UEFA Cup – Eintracht Frankfurt, Napoli and Valencia.

• Giroud's hat-trick against Dynamo Kyiv – on his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition – took his tally in this season's UEFA Europa League to nine, the highest in the competition, one more than Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt), Munas Dabbur (Salzburg) and Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla).

• Willian's assist in Prague was his seventh of the competition this season, putting him level at the top of the charts with Igor Stasevich of eliminated BATE.

• Chelsea were one of seven teams to come through the group stage undefeated and are now the only one to have retained that status after the quarter-final first legs. Their run of 14 UEFA Europa League games without defeat is one shy of Atlético Madrid's competition record.

• The west London club have kept clean sheets in each of their last four UEFA Europa League matches. One more will equal the competition record held jointly by Napoli, Salzburg, Arsenal and Villarreal.

• Slavia were held 1-1 at home by Sparta in the Prague derby on Sunday, which reduced their lead over defending champions Viktoria Plzeň at the top of the Czech league table to five points.

Chelsea's last meeting with Czech opposition
Chelsea's last meeting with Czech opposition

Penalty shoot-outs
• Chelsea's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L3:
1-4 v Liverpool, 2006/07 UEFA Champions League semi-final
5-6 v Manchester United, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final
4-3 v Bayern München, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League final
4-5 v Bayern München, 2013 UEFA Super Cup

• Slavia's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L0:
5-4 v Schalke, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Žilina, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round

The coaches
• Named as the new Chelsea boss in succession to his fellow Italian, Antonio Conte, in July 2018, Maurizio Sarri is widely considered to be one of Europe's most progressive coaches. He paid his dues in Italy's lower leagues with a multitude of clubs before getting his big break at Empoli, whom he steered into Serie A, and then replaced Rafael Benítez at Napoli in 2015. Three seasons in Naples all brought top-three finishes, his entertaining side running Juventus close for the Scudetto in 2017/18.

• Heavily influenced by Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, Jindřich Trpišovský started out as a youth coach at Sparta Praha before impressing with his work at second-division Viktoria Žižkov. He then took over at Slovan Liberec in 2017, leading the club into the UEFA Europa League group stage two seasons running. He left Liberec for Slavia in December 2017 and won the Czech Cup with the Prague outfit the following spring.

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