Chelsea FC midfielder Michael Ballack has called on his team-mates to live up to their reputation and avenge a 2-1 first-leg loss against Fenerbahçe SK on Tuesday.
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Chelsea FC saw their challenge ended in games they were expected to win in both English cup competitions this season. By common consent, they are also favourites to come through Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against Fenerbahçe SK – and Michael Ballack is determined not to make the same mistake a third time.
The midfielder says that when they lost to Tottenham Hotspur FC in the League Cup final and to Barnsley FC in the FA Cup, it was through their own failings rather than any superiority on the part of the opposition. The difference against Fenerbahçe is that Avram Grant's men have a second chance. "It was our fault that we lost the first leg," said Ballack, harking back to the 2-1 reverse in Istanbul last Wednesday. "When we play our best football we can win every competition, but we have to show it. That's our motivation."
After drawing 0-0 away to Olympiacos CFP in the first leg of the first knockout round, Chelsea stormed out of the blocks at Stamford Bridge in the return. Ballack himself scored within five minutes before Frank Lampard made it 2-0 in the 25th minute en route to a comfortable 3-0 win. "If we can start the game like the one against Olympiacos, it would be great, but it's not possible to start every game like this," the 31-year-old said. "We will go out and attack and press our opponents. We have our strategy and will prepare today and tomorrow very well and then we will see what happens."
Chelsea's remarkable home record – unbeaten in 63 matches in all competitions – and their greater experience, with this being their fourth UEFA Champions League quarter-final in five seasons, point to a likely victory for the Londoners. However, the German international captain senses danger in concentrating too much on those twin assets.
"Fenerbahçe have nothing to lose and that makes it very dangerous," Ballack added. "But we can deal with this, as we know these situations where you go into the game as favourites. We saw in the first game that after 45 minutes it seemed it would be an easy win for Chelsea. Then the game changed and we have to stay concentrated all the time. We lost the first game and we have to win this one. I'm very positive we can and I'm looking forward to it."