Champions League preview: Werder Bremen v. Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has taken just 16 outfield players to Germany.

Missing from the squad are suspended Frank Lampard, Ricardo Carvalho who suffered a twisted ankle against West Ham on Saturday, Salomon Kalou who is still recovering from a knee injury picked up in training, and Wayne Bridge whose wife is expecting a baby.

Mourinho took the unusual step of revealing his line-up at yesterday’s pre-match press conference. There will be a starting place for Joe Cole, his first in the Champions League and just his third this season, while Michael Ballack returns after being rested at the weekend and Khalid Boulahrouz replaces the injured Carvalho.

Barcelona will be relieved that Mourinho named a strong side. The Catalans’ chances of progressing to the knock-out stages will be helped if Chelsea defeat Bremen, and Mourinho made it clear that he’s taking tonight seriously.

“I play to lose only when I play against my kids,” he said, “because I want them to be happy.

“After that football is about giving your best and trying to win. You have to respect your opponents, you have to respect the competition, you have to respect yourself.

“We still need something to qualify, we still need something to be first in the group. I know the situation is magnificent and we did very well in these four matches to come here in this very good situation – but football is football and we are going to play the best we can and get the result.”

A point would make Chelsea group winners.

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