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Friday 31 August 2012

In-form Chelsea braced for Super Cup test

Champions League winners take on Atletico Madrid in Monaco on Friday

  • Chelsea have made a perfect start to the new Barclays Premier League campaign

  • Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech celebrates with the UEFA Champions League trophy in May

  • Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup in 1998 with a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid

  • Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone led his side to UEFA Europa League glory last season

Chelsea will be aiming for their second UEFA Super Cup victory when they take on Spain's Atletico Madrid in Monaco on Friday.

The UEFA Champions League winners take on the Europa League victors in the traditional curtain-raiser for the European club competition season.

The Blues, who defeated Bayern Munich on penalties to claim their first Champions League triumph in May, won the Super Cup in 1998 when, as Cup-Winners' Cup champions, they beat Real Madrid 1-0 with a goal from Gus Poyet.

Atletico Madrid will also be targeting a second Super Cup victory, after beating European champions Inter Milan in 2010.

"It is a European trophy that we want to win"
- Roberto Di Matteo

Chelsea go into the match after an impressive start to the Barclays Premier League campaign with wins over Wigan Athletic, Reading and Newcastle.

New signing Eden Hazard has already produced some eye-catching performances while Spanish striker Fernando Torres has scored two goals in three matches.

"We are happy we are going into the Super Cup final with three wins and everybody fit and hopefully we can win another international trophy for this football club," said Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo.

"[I will take it] very seriously. It is not a friendly. It is a European trophy that we want to win, not be resting people [for]."

Chelsea will be without the suspended John Terry, although David Luiz will be available, while new signings Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses are expected to be part of the matchday squad.

There could be two Chelsea goalkeepers on the pitch in Monaco, with Atletico likely to name Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan from the West London side, in their starting XI.

Atletico are fourth in La Liga after a draw and a victory in their opening two matches.

Great experience

"I've played against Atletico before, but since Diego Simeone's arrival in the dugout their playing style has changed," Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech told uefa.com.

"They're very disciplined, with an especially solid defence, and are difficult to handle on the counterattack. Also, because they're a Spanish team, they all want the ball and feel comfortable on it.

"I'm very happy to have this opportunity, because it's a match I've never played in. Now, after eight years of trying, I've managed to do it. It will be a great experience."

This will be the last UEFA Super Cup match held at the Stade Louis II stadium. The competition will visit Prague, Cardiff and then Tbilisi in the next three years.

ENGLISH CLUBS IN THE UEFA SUPER CUP

1977 Liverpool 7-1 Hamburg (on aggregate)
1978 Anderlecht 4-3 Liverpool (on aggregate)
1979 Nottingham Forest 2-1 Barcelona (on aggregate)
1980 Valencia 2-2 Nottingham Forest (on aggregate, Valencia won on away goals)
1982 Aston Villa 3-1 Barcelona (on aggregate)
1984 Juventus 2-0 Liverpool
1991
Manchester United 1-0 Red Star Belgrade
1994 Milan 2-0 Arsenal (on aggregate)
1998 Chelsea 1-0 Real Madrid
1999 Lazio 1-0 Manchester United
2001
Liverpool 3-2 Bayern Munich
2005 Liverpool 3-1 CSKA Moscow
2008 Zenit St Petersburg 2-1 Manchester United

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Key Points

  • Chelsea play Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Friday
  • Both clubs are aiming to win the trophy for the second time
  • Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo says he taking the match 'very seriously'