Having navigated the group stages and two two-legged knockout rounds, vanquishing the likes of Vidi FC, PAOK, Malmö FF, and Dynamo Kiev along the way, Chelsea are into the final eight of the Europa League for the second time in club history.
And now, this is where the fun truly begins.
For the first time in competition history, the full final bracket will be drawn, meaning that our potential path to the final will be known already. Teams must not look too far ahead, but just like in March Madness (i.e. the NCAA Tournament), or the World Cup, knowing the path ahead adds a bit of extra fun.
In any case, with eight strong teams remaining (including vanquishers of Sevilla, Slavia Prague, and vanquishers of Inter Milan, Eintracht Frankfurt), Chelsea were never going to get an easy ride. Still, relatively speaking, it could’ve been far worse.
Next up in quarterfinals then will be Slavia Prague, with the winner going on to face the winner of Benfica vs. Eintracht Frankfurt in the semifinal.
The full draw for the Europa League final bracket:
Earlier, the final bracket of the Champions League was drawn as well:
This will be Chelsea’s first meeting with the team from the Czech capital. In our Europa League-winning campaign during the 2012-13 season, we met their rivals Sparta Prague in the Round of 32 and beat them 2-1 on aggregate.
We first face Slavia Prague away on April 11th. The return leg takes place one week later, on April 18th at Stamford Bridge.
Come on you Blues!