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Chelsea will look to finally kick-start their season with a convincing win in the Champions League as they host Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Fernando Torres admitted last week that the Blues are not yet singing from the same hymn sheet as their new manager Andre Villas Boas, and the Portuguese manager will be the first to admit that his side’s performance so far in the Premier League haven’t been up to scratch as yet – but with the Champions League getting underway he may well view this as the perfect opportunity for them to show what they are really capable of.
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They go into the match unsure of their striking options however after it was confirmed that Didier Drogba would miss the game in order undergo further dental treatment following his collision with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy two weeks ago, meaning Torres and Daniel Sturridge will likely fight it out for a starting spot.
Sturridge got the nod to start against Sunderland on Saturday and justified his inclusion with a clever back heel for Chelsea’s second, but Villas-Boas will likely opt for Torres and his vastly superior European experience.
Leverkusen will have their work cut out if they are to take anything away from Stamford Bridge on Tuesday as they look to become the first side to beat Chelsea at home in European competition in 24 games.
They will be without keeper Rene Adle who has been sidelined for two weeks with a knee injury, while the game will mark the return of former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack, who is likely to get a warm reception from the Stamford Bridge faithful after the German’s four year spell at the club.
Despite having never met in European competition before, no German side has ever gone to Stamford Bridge and taken away maximum points, while Leverkusen’s defensive record against English sides is poor; they have never kept a clean sheet against an English side in the Champions League, a run that stretches back twelve games.