Rosenborg BK coach Trond Henriksen is hoping for a repeat of the performances that brought wins against Valencia CF as his side take on leaders Chelsea FC.
Rosenborg BK coach Trond Henriksen is hoping for a repeat of the performances that brought a pair of surprise victories against Valencia CF when his side take on Group B leaders Chelsea FC at Lerkendal on Wednesday.
Rosenborg are just a point behind the English team and will go top of the section should they win on home soil, a scenario that looked highly unlikely when they lost 2-0 to FC Schalke 04 at the same arena on Matchday 2. "We aim to take control of the game just as we did against Valencia," Henriksen said. "When we're at home we always go for maximum points. We are proud of what we have achieved so far in the UEFA Champions League. But now we are hungry for more and want to do even better."
There are several reasons why the Norwegian club can approach this Matchday 5 encounter with confidence, not least the 1-1 draw at Chelsea with which they opened their campaign. Rosenborg are also unbeaten at home against English opposition, having overcome Blackburn Rovers FC during the 1995/96 season before drawing with Arsenal FC in September 2004. The heavy snowfall in Trondheim over the last couple of days may also be a factor in their favour. In October 1997 Chelsea lost to Tromsø IL in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in similar conditions to those anticipated.
Henriksen will start with the eleven that secured a second successive 2-0 victory over Valencia, in Spain three weeks ago, meaning right-back Roar Strand will begin on the bench. "Roar is just back from injury while Fredrik Stoor has been brilliant for us in recent weeks," Henriksen explained. The coach is pleased with Steffen Iversen's form too. The ex-Tottenham Hotspur FC striker scored both goals in the win in Valencia and also hit a hat-trick for Norway in their 4-1 success against Malta last week. "Steffen is in great shape and that is important for us," confirmed Henriksen.
Chelsea will seal pole position in Group B with victory and coach Avram Grant is expecting nothing less. "Rosenborg are second because they deserve to be," he said. "We know we're up against a good team but we want to win every game. The most important thing is to go through to the next stage." Grant believes his players can take motivation from having to share the spoils with Rosenborg in London in September – in José Mourinho's last game in charge at Stamford Bridge. "It was not a good night for us," Grant recalled. "The stadium was half full and the supporters were booing us."
Ready for action
Goalkeeper Petr Čech and centre-back Ricardo Carvalho are still injured, yet captain John Terry returned for Saturday's 2-0 away success against Derby County FC, and with striker Didier Drogba available again, Grant is confident of getting the result his side require. "Obviously we've had a lot of injuries lately and that has not been easy for us," he said. "But this is the life of football, we have a big squad and we are well-prepared for the match."