Champions League champions Chelsea and Europa League champions Villarreal will face off in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday evening in Belfast.
Chelsea defeated Manchester City in the Champions League final; Villarreal defeated Manchester United in the Europa League to win their first European championship. Chelsea won the Super Cup in 1998; the match will take place at Windsor Park in Belfast, with kick-off at 8 p.m.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is faced with the tough decision of selecting players to feature in the clash of champions final fon Wednesday’s match against Villarreal, as he must pick between first-team regulars who have recently returned from summer breaks after participating in Euro 2020 and fringe players who have had a full pre-season.
“It’s quite a normal situation in preparation until the transfer window is closed,” Tuchel said. “Tammy [Abraham] is one of these players where we constantly evaluate the situation and adapt to the needs, but for tomorrow there is no news now.
“He is available, he is in training today and available for the starting 11 and to come off the bench.”
He added that those players who have returned late to training were not likely to play the full 90 minutes in Belfast.
On the other end, Villarreal will be missing winger Samuel Chukwueze, who is still recovering from a hip injury suffered against Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals, and Dani Parejo, who has a calf problem.
Recent Covid concerns have also limited Unai Emery’s choices, and it is unclear whether Etienne Capoue, Francis Coquelin, Geronimo Rulli, and Vicente Iborra will play.
Chelsea and Villarreal’s Super Cup history
Chelsea won the Super Cup in 1998 after winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. However, they have lost their three subsequent appearances in 2012, 2013, and 2019.
On the other hand, Villarreal will be competing in the Super Cup for the first time. The last Spanish winners were Atletico Madrid in 2018.
- This will be Chelsea’s 50th game against Spanish opponents in European competition (W20 D17 L12), but the first time they have ever faced Villarreal in competitive action.
- Villarreal are unbeaten in their last 15 games in European competition (W12 D3), with the most recent three coming against English opponents in last season’s UEFA Europa League. They won 2-1 on aggregate against Arsenal in the semi-final, before beating Manchester United on penalties in the final following a 1-1 draw.
- Chelsea have only lost two of their last 12 games against Spanish opponents in European competition (W5 D5), while they were unbeaten in their six encounters with Spanish sides in their successful UEFA Champions League run in 2020-21 (W4 D2).
- This is the 18th consecutive UEFA Super Cup game involving either an English or Spanish team, with 2003 being the last time neither were involved (Porto 0-1 AC Milan). Across the previous 17 UEFA Super Cup games in this run, the trophy has been lifted by a Spanish side on 11 occasions, and just twice by those from England.
- Chelsea will be appearing in the UEFA Super Cup for the fifth time in 2021 – since winning their first one in 1998 against Real Madrid, the Blues have failed to lift the trophy in each of their last three attempts (1-4 v Atlético Madrid in 2012, lost in a penalty shoot-out against Bayern Munich in 2013 and in the same manner against Liverpool in 2019).
- Villarreal could become the sixth different Spanish team to win the UEFA Super Cup, which would set a new record for the most different teams from a single nation to have won the trophy (the current record is five, held by both Spain and England).
- Édouard Mendy kept nine clean sheets for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League in 2020-21; the most ever by a goalkeeper in their debut season in the competition.
- Gerard Moreno was directly involved in 10 goals in 12 games for Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League in 2020-21 (seven goals, three assists). Only three players were directly involved in more goals than him across last season’s UEFA Champions League and Europa League – Bruno Fernandes (14), Erling Haaland (12) and Kylian Mbappé (11).
- Mason Mount scored in last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg (v Real Madrid), before assisting Chelsea’s winner in the final against Manchester City. The last English player to score or assist in a UEFA Super Cup final was Gary Cahill, who scored for Chelsea in 2012 against Atlético Madrid.
- Samuel Chukwueze made four assists for Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League last season; the most of any player for his side, while only Alfredo Morelos (5) made more in the competition overall.