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Chelsea 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen


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Sturridge needs to start vs. United, rest him for Bayer and start Malouda.

I find it funny how people are talking about rest after four whole games this season :lol:.

And it's the opposite with Sturridge. He lacks match rhythm, you could see it against Sunderland (the last game he played was against Rangers). He needs to play as much as possible now to get in a flow and gain form.

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Malouda starting wouldn't be as absurd as it may sound. Rotation can/should be applied throughout the whole season instead of only the later parts, we don't want to repeat the same mistakes that hurt us under Ancelotti.

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Ballack on his return to the Bridge

Choosing one moment that sticks in his memory more than the others is an impossible task for the former Germany captain, but he can narrow the choice down to three.

'My injury right at the start because in the end I missed seven months and it was quite a difficult period for me.

'The second memory is the Champions League Final with the penalty shoot-out that will haunt all of us for ever.

'The third was winning the League and the Cup in the last year. After trailing to Man United for three years, winning two titles in the last year was great.'

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A 10th campaign in the Champions League begins at home tonight with two previous beaten finalists going head to head. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton preview the start of Chelsea's quest to go one better…

And so begins another attempt to lift the trophy that first eluded us way back in 1955/56. It was then that the Football League saw the inaugural European Cup as an unwelcome challenge to domestic prestige and forced Chelsea to refuse the invitation to contest it.

In the 55 years since we have qualified ten times, playing our 100th match at this level (excluding qualifiers) in the quarter-final against Manchester United last season.

This is the Blues' ninth successive season in Uefa's elite competition and we have never failed to proceed to the knockout rounds, finishing top of our group in six of the last eight campaigns.

There is something very family-oriented about this year's gathering of Chelsea, Bayer, Valencia and Racing Genk in Group E. The Blues bought goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Genk in the summer and loaned him to Atlético Madrid, where he has kept two clean sheets in three appearances. He had been voted the Belgian team's player of the season in 2010/11.

By small coincidence the only goal he has conceded in Spain was at the weekend, away to Valencia. Valencia's Estadio Mestalla was home, from 2008 until last month, to Juan Mata the clever forward who has already had such an immensely creative impact at Chelsea.

And, of course, tonight's visitors from Germany, Bayer Leverkusen, have in their squad a player who was so prominent at Chelsea from 2006 to 2010. Michael Ballack was a powerful and popular presence in the Blues' midfield: a born leader with a visceral hatred of defeat.

Source: ChelseaFC.com

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The atmosphere in the training ground looks brilliant. There's some other great pictures posted by pharaon in his thread in the Chelsea Multimedia.

Great pictures, and those pictures also give some indication there is no hard feeling against Torres interview, well if it is correct translated.

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I would play: Cech

Bosingwa Luiz Alex Bertrand

Mereiles Romeau McEachran

Sturridge Torres Mata

Subs 75min: Sturridge-Anelka, Mata-Malouda, Mereiles-Mikel

Bertrand is not in the CL squad.

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