Werder Bremen are still in with a good chance of reaching the knockout stages and a victory against Group A leaders Chelsea will put thm in poll [position with a trip to Barcelona to come in a fortnight’s time.
Bremen’s advantage over Barca is two points, and with Barcelona expected to take all three points from their trip to Levski Sofia this week, Thomas Schaaf’s side need to take something out of this game.
“We must concentrate on the match against Chelsea and, to be honest, I am not even thinking about what might still happen in the group,” said the Bremen coach. “I am proud of what we have achieved so far and I am sure there is a lot more to come from my team. We want to beat Chelsea to improve the good position we have put ourselves in.”
Schaaf will be without his captain Frank Baumann who is suspended, and midfielder Christian Schulz is struggling with a knee injury.
“He is in the squad and we will have to wait and see how he feels,” said Schaaf. If fit, the 23-year-old Schulz will play on the left of midfield, with Torsten Frings dropping back to shield the defence.
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss José Mourinho ha to reshuffle his midfield following the oss through suspension of Frank Lampard. Michael Ballack, who sat out Saturday’s Premier League victory over West Ham, will return, and Mourinho will also include Joe Cole at the expense of Arjen Robben who drops to the bench.
“Joe has been a victim of the injury he sustained during pre-season,” Mourinho said. “I know how serious the injury was and that it takes time to recover. In recent weeks he has also been a victim of our results, because it is hard to change a team that is winning. He is an excellent player and it is a good chance to play him in a high-level game.”
Mourinho dismissed the suggestion that Chelsea would take it easy tonight, even though they face a top-of-the-table Premeirship clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
“I only play football to lose when I play against my kids,” he said. “I am not here to lose this game. I will field the best possible side to get the best possible result. This is the Champions League and the opponents and the competition deserve respect. We still need something to secure our place in the next round.”
Tim Wiese; Clemens Fritz, Naldo, Per Mertesacker, Pierre Wome; Tim Borowski, Torsten Frings, Diego, Christian Schulz; Aaron Hunt, Miroslav Klose.
Carlo Cudicini; Geremi, John Terry, Khalid Boulahrouz, Ashley Cole; Michael Essien, Claude Makelele, Michael Ballack, Joe Cole; Didier Drogba, Andriy Shevchenko.