'Welcome to Hell', read the infamous banner that greeted Manchester United on their arrival at Galatasaray's Ali Sami Yen stadium in 1993. 21 years have passed, and the Turkish giants have since moved stadiums, but on the week that Chelsea make the trip to Istanbul, Galatasaray fans showed that their British opposition could well face a hell of their own.
Seven kilometres north of their old home lies the Turk Telekom Arena, a shiny 21 century stadium built for the modern game. Long gone are the days of fire and fury, of the fans in yellow and red breathing down the necks of the players on the field in front of them. Although the stadium is less conducive to the element of fear, the fans have changed very little.
Chelsea travel to the Turkish capital off the back of a fairly routine win against Everton. They left it late, but there was nothing particularly memorable about the day. Galatasaray, on the other hand, were embroiled in a frightening battle both on and off the field, with their local rivals Beskitas. Supporters clashed before the game, with fans throwing chairs and punches in equal measure on the streets of Istanbul, before Galatasaray eventually came through unscathed and with three hard-fought points.
That is not to say Chelsea fans will be subjected to the same treatment off-the-field on Wednesday night – the Galatasaray - Besiktas rivalry is a fierce one that goes back to the 1920s – but on it Jose Mourinho's men face stiff competition, in part from an old friend.
Didier Drogba scored 100 goals for Chelsea in an extremely successful eight years in West London. Now though, he will be facing his former club for the first time, and has already scored eight times this season for Galatasaray. They sit second in the Turkish Süper Lig, but have finished champions in their first two seasons at the TT Arena. They have reached the knock-out stages of the Champions League for a second year running too – another unprecedented achievement, as Roberto Mancini stamps his mark on Turkish football.
Chelsea are back under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho, who will want to complete his collection with a Champions League trophy at Stamford Bridge. He has won the rest – Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield – but the Champions League still eludes Mourinho's grasp. He has achieved it at both Porto and Inter Milan, but not yet in West London. Chelsea are also sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, without a loss since December 7, so will be high in confidence.
In the previous round of competition, Chelsea came through in much simpler circumstances than that of their Turkish counterparts. Qualification to the knock-out stages was completed with a game to spare for the English side, whereas Galatasaray had to fight past Juventus in their final match – an 85 minute Wesley Sneijder goal knocked out their opposition and sent them through.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7.45pm
Galatasaray 0 Chelsea 5 (Flo 2, Zola, Wise, Ambrosetti), Champions League, October 1999
Chelsea 1 (Petrescu) Galatasaray 0, Champions League, September 1999
Neither team has relied on one player to score their Champions League goals this season. Galatasaray's top scorer Umut Bulut has three goals, and Chelsea's Samuel Eto'o has two.
Chelsea were the last British team to beat Galatasaray in Istanbul, a 0-5 win in 1999. Since then, the Turkish side have won three, and drawn one against English sides.
Didier Drogba's final kick for Chelsea secured them the Champions League title in May 2012. He will be facing them for the first time on Wednesday night.
Jose Mourinho masterminded Chelsea's only round of 16 defeat between 2006/07 and 2011/12, as coach of Inter Milan in 2009/10.
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Facing Drogba is strange - Mourinho
Chelsea fan stabbed in Istanbul
Galatasaray to win: 3.9
Chelsea to win: 1.95
TV: Live coverage on Sky Sports 1, Wednesday at 7.45pm
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