Chelsea travel to Germany, on Wednesday night, hoping to banish their recent home blues with a win and qualification for the next round of the Champions League. The Blues are in the middle of a terrible run of form, having won one of our last six, if you take the Everton Carling cup tie as a draw (after 90 mins). That said, I actually think we have been playing reasonably well, however we continue to be exposed by pace and until AVB stops playing that very high line, we will continue to suffer. Am I the only one who wants to see David Luiz play as a holding midfielder?
The compact Bay Arena holds 30,000 and the locals will be hoping for a third home win in this year’s competition. Chelsea, meanwhile have drawn both away ties 1-1, but will be looking to put qualification to bed and concentrate on their league form before February’s resumption.
Ex Blue Michael Ballack makes his 100th European appearance and will play in a mask to protect his broken nose. The Germans will be missing first choice keeper Rene Adler. They are also without long term absentees Barnetta, Augusto and Bellarabi, but should welcome back Andre Schurrie. Chelsea meanwhile have a fully fit squad apart from Michael Essien. I would expect a Chelsea team of Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry and Cole behind a midfield trio of Mikel (more suited to Europe than PL), Lampard and Ramires and a three pronged attack of Mata, Torres and Sturridge.
On a bright note Chelsea are, to date, the team with most attempts (72) and most on target (40) in this seasons quest for the ‘big one’. Chelsea have scored nine goals this season with eight different scorers, only Torres has scored two.
I expect the Blues to win this one, narrowly with Torres again being the scourge of the German defence. Then we can concentrate on the league with Saturday’s match against Wolves the platform to build a run of victories, growing confidence for the massive December 12th match against Man City.