Never before has a club followed up a Champions League win with victory in UEFA’s second-most prestigious competition, but that’s exactly what Chelsea will be out to do when they face Benfica in Wednesday’s Europa League Final in Amsterdam.
It’s not exactly the ideal pattern.
No doubt the Blues would have preferred to put together a more serious defense of last spring’s European Cup triumph, but after an early Champions League exit and difficult start to the season that had them outside the Premier League’s top four, they have managed to right the ship and will conclude the campaign with both a third-place finish and European final.
It could certainly have been worse, and Chelsea fans can take heart that things are trending upwards for their club.
Benfica, meanwhile, come into Wednesday’s final on the back of their first Portuguese Primeira Liga defeat of the season—a 1-0 loss away to Porto that now has them trailing the reigning champions by a single point with one match to play.
With the title now out of their hands the Europa League will now have added importance for the Lisbon giants, and following six straight defeats in European finals they’ll be looking to start a new streak at Amsterdam Arena.
This may not be the continent’s showcase event, but with clubs as esteemed as Benfica and Chelsea contesting Wednesday’s match, this year’s Europa League Final may just seem bigger than it really is.
The football certainly promises to be compelling, and over the next few slides we’ll break down the key elements of a contest that offers a European trophy at the end of it.