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Jesper Grønkjær is on familiar ground as he returns to Chelsea FC, but the Danish international is determined to play a part in what he hopes will be a remarkable recovery as FC København bid for what their coach describes as "a miracle or two" in London.
The Danish champions went down 2-0 at the Parken Stadion in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie three weeks ago and, while Ståle Solbakken acknowledges it will take something spectacular to turn that around, Grønkjær is not willing to admit defeat just yet. "We're going to give it a good go," he said. "We know we weren't at our best in Copenhagen but we want to keep the dream alive; our chances are small but we will give our best."
The 33-year-old knows better than most the size of FCK's task having spent four seasons at Chelsea before leaving for Birmingham City FC in 2004. He is relishing his return – although he admitted the club has undergone a dramatic facelift since his departure.
"It's going to be funny – I've only had a short walk down the corridor outside and already everything was different there," he said. "It's going to be a fantastic atmosphere.
To walk on to the pitch and have a look around will be a walk down memory lane. I've got great memories here but now I'm playing for FCK and I want to win."
The Danish champions have lost on two of their three previous visits to England although the only time they did avoid defeat came at Stamford Bridge with a 1-1 draw in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round.
Even more is needed for an unlikely victory this time, and according to Grønkjær a strong start will be essential: "They played better than us in Copenhagen and we have to hit form now, straight away. Our chances of progress are slim. We know we're going to play against a team who, on paper, are much better than us."
FCK have managed seven goals in their seven games so far – Chelsea have scored 16 – and, though they sit 20 points clear at the top of the Superligaen, the first-leg defeat preceded a maiden league loss of the season. They beat Aalborg BK 1-0 at the weekend, however, and Grønkjær returned to his initial theme as he looked to build on that win.
We want to keep the dream alive; this has been our dream for the last five years," he concluded. "In the past six months we've played our best football ever and we want to reach that level again. That's what everyone expects and that's what we want to do within the group."
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