Genk failed to win a game during their only previous UEFA Champions League participation in 2002/03 and if they are to get off the mark on matchday four they have to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Chelsea FC last time out.
The Stamford Bridge fixture on 19 October was the first competitive game involving these sides and the first time Genk had encountered opponents from England. It proved the toughest of introductions, Chelsea running out 5-0 winners to record their biggest UEFA Champions League victory.
Genk marked their return to Europe’s elite club competition after nine years with a hard-earned point at home to Valencia CF in their first game, but went down 2-0 at Bayer 04 Leverkusen two weeks later.
Chelsea began with a 2-0 defeat of Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge and only a late Roberto Soldado penalty denied them a second successive win on matchday two, the game at Valencia finishing 1-1.
All seven of Chelsea’s previous fixtures against Belgian sides have produced a decisive scoreline and in each case the losing team failed to score.
The Blues won on their last visit to Belgium for a European fixture, scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes for a 2-0 win at RSC Anderlecht in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage. Petr Čech, Michael Essien, John Terry and Frank Lampard lined up for the visitors while Didier Drogba and Paulo Ferreira were on the bench. Anthony Vanden Borre played for the opposition. Chelsea had earlier won the home game 1-0, Lampard getting the only goal.
The Blues’ previous two away trips to Belgium, both against Club Brugge KV in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final, firstly in 1970/71 and then in 1994/95, ended in 2-0 and 1-0 defeats respectively. In each case Chelsea claimed an aggregate victory, going on to lift the trophy in the earlier campaign.
Genk reached this season’s group stage in dramatic circumstances, the Belgian champions overturning Maccabi Haifa FC’s 2-1 first-leg advantage in the play-offs to win by the same score in the return. With no addition to the 3-3 aggregate score in extra time it went to the shoot-out, Genk winning 4-1 thanks to two saves from goalkeeper László Köteles.
Coach Frank Vercauteren stepped down after the first leg against Haifa. Pierre Denier was in caretaker charge for the return before Mario Been was appointed as Vercauteren’s permanent successor on 30 August.
In 2002/03, Genk finished bottom of their group with four points, drawing at home with AEK Athens FC and Real Madrid CF while AS Roma inflicted a 1-0 defeat in Belgium.
Chelsea, taking part in their ninth successive UEFA Champions League edition, have lost just one of their last eight away group games, winning four.
Chelsea will bounce back after the Arsenal game with a win in this one.