Jose Mourinho has named his Chelsea side to face former club Barcelona, and as expected, heis without the services of Damien Duff.
The Blues take on Barca on the back of only their third loss of the season at Newcastle in the FA Cup last weekend, a defeat that proved costly on the injury front.
The Londoners were already without Dutch winger Arjen Robben for the Nou Camp showdown, and lost another two left-sided stars, Duff and Wayne Bridge.
Duff has been sidelined by a knee problem he picked up after a clash with Carlo Cudicini, while Bridge will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle fracture.
However, there is better news for Chelsea; defender William Gallas and striker Didier Drogba who were also doubts for the game have both been passed fit to play. Gallas finished the match at St James’s Park in clear discomfort with a groin injury, while Drogba has been struggling with a thigh complaint.
Petr Cech is in goal for the Blues, while the defence comprises Paulo Ferreira, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Gallas.
Claude Makelele, Frank Lampard, Tiago and Cole will start in midfield, and up front Drogba returns to partner Eidur Gudjohnsen.
Barcelona have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game, although defender Oleguer will face a late fitness test which he is expected to come through.
They are still without long-term absentees Edmilson, Thiago Motta, Gabri and Henrik Larsson, all of whom sustained serious knee ligament injuries in the first half of the season.
However, their losses have been somewhat offset by the additions of the experienced Italian midfielder Demetrio Albertini and Argentine striker Maxi Lopez, both of whom joined during the January transfer window, and both of whom are eligible.
Much of the Catalans’ attacking intent will come from 17-goal striker Samuel Eto’o, while Deco – coming face to face with Mourinho for the first time since they both left Porto last summer – and Ronaldinho will pull the strings from midfield.
It is the second time in five years that the teams have met in Europe’s premier club competition, and Chelsea will be hoping for some measure of revenge after Barca’s dramatic 6-4 aggregate victory in 1999/2000.
Barca coach Frank Rijaard believes the pressure is firmly on Chelsea.
“This is an interesting moment of pressure for Chelsea,” he said. “They have just been knocked out of the FA Cup, they are playing at the Nou Camp, which some of their team have not done, and then they have a Cup final this weekend.
“Perhaps that puts extra pressure on them? However, we know that Chelsea will try to control midfield, that they will press the ball; they won’t have many secrets from us.”
However, Jose Mourinho may have a surprise. “
There will be times when we are prepared to change from four defenders and go three against three in order to load our attack and see if we can score on the counter,” he said.