Champions League - Behind Enemy Lines: Ballack aims for shock

Mon, 12 Sep 13:20:00 2011

We take a look at the form of the clubs facing British opposition in the opening round of Champions League fixtures with Michael Ballack's Bayer Leverkusen among the goals before their trip to Chelsea on Tuesday.

Football 2011/12 Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen Michael Ballack - 0

Group E: Bayer Leverkusen visit Chelsea on Tuesday

They may not be quite at the levels that carried them to the Champions League final to face Real Madrid in 2002, but Leverkusen have not been shy in finding the net as they prepare to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

A 4-1 win away at Bundesliga newcomers Augsburg was achieved with minimal fuss despite falling behind after only five minutes.

A couple from Sidney Sam, Stefan Kiessling and one from Eren Derdioyok more than enough to seal a morale-boosting win.

Michael Ballack played an hour of the match at Augsburg, and is relishing the chance to face his former club.

"I don't think Chelsea have to be afraid of us, but that's normal," he said. "They are the favourites in our group but in the opening match in London there will be no pressure on us, so we may spring a surprise."

Group F: Borussia Dortmund host Arsenal on Tuesday

Arsenal could do worse than study footage of Hertha Berlin's 2-1 win against Dortmund at their Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

Arsenal may not be in supreme form in the Premier League, but neither are last season's German champions in the Bundesliga.

Newly promoted Hertha Berlin completed a 2-1 win over Dortmund on Saturday, prompting general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke to demand an improvement with Dortmund in 10th spot after five games - five points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

He said: "We have to go about our business differently. We have in the coming days the time, and opportunity to bring more sharpness and aggression into our game."

Group C: Benfica host Manchester United on Wednesday

Benfica warmed up the visit of Manchester United on Wednesday by completing a 2-1 victory over Vitoria Guimaraes in Lisbon. Oscar Cardozo netted two penalty kicks and missed one as his side returned to second spot in the Portuguese table, two points behind leaders Porto.

Benfica have been boosted by the news that towering skipper Luisao has agreed a three-year deal tying him to the club until 2016.

"I'm going to end my career at Benfica," he said "These last weeks have been very emotional for me; I have reached 300 appearances for Benfica, I became the foreign player to have featured in more European matches for a Portuguese club than any other."

Group A: Napoli visit Manchester City on Wednesday

Napoli opened their Serie A season with a 3-1 win on Cesena's artificial surface. They will face City in high spirits with Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hugo Campagnero and Marek Hamsik all hitting the net against a Cesena side reduced to 10 men after Yohan Benalouane was sent packing for a second booking.

Napoli are tasting their first slice of the Champions League since the tournament was known as the European Cup, and they won the Serie A title 1987 and 1990 with Diego Maradona in their side.

"I am curious to see how we get on in an important stadium and against one of the strongest English teams," commented Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri.


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