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Weakened Chelsea tough enough for Žilina

Chelsea FC may be without Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba but Pavel Hapel, coach of debutants MŠK Žilina, knows their absence will barely weaken a Chelsea FC side in rampant form.

Weakened Chelsea tough enough for Žilina
Weakened Chelsea tough enough for Žilina ©UEFA.com

Slovakia's MŠK Žilina have the unenviable task of taking on Chelsea FC in their UEFA Champions League debut in Group F and home coach Pavel Hapel is not taking comfort even from the absence of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

Pavel Hapal, Žilina coach
Our main target is to show everyone that we deserved to qualify. We know that two excellent Chelsea players are not available, Frank Lampard due to injury and Didier Drogba through suspension. However, I don't see it as a big advantage because Chelsea have a big enough squad to replace these stars with players of similar quality. I hope the stadium will be sold out and our great fans will help us in the fight with Chelsea. Žilina don't play sides of this quality every day.

Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea coach
I've already made a decision about the starting lineup: Čech, Ivanović, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov, John Obi Mikel, Essien, Benayoun, Malouda, Anelka, Sturridge. Žilina are a good team. I saw their play-off against Sparta. They deserved to go through. We have to be careful because they are a very organised side, especially in defence, and can cause us problems. We cannot afford to feel superior. In football everything is possible but, yes, we expect victory.

Team news
Hapal said: "We have everybody fit and ready for tomorrow's game."

Drogba is beginning a two-match ban resulting from his red card against FC Internazionale Milano last season. Lampard had a hernia operation at the end of August and will not play, with Ashley Cole and José Bosingwa also not travelling to Slovakia.

Weekend results
11/09/10 Žilina 2-1 1. FC Tatran Prešov
(Jež 14, Vladavič 44pen; Piter-Bučko 46)
Slovakian league leaders Žilina are the only unbeaten side after eight rounds; indeed their last defeat in the competition was 17 games ago, on 24 March at ŠK Slovan Bratislava. Admir Vladavić's penalty came in his first appearance since returning from a 12-month spell at FC Salzburg.

11/09/10 West Ham United FC 1-3 Chelsea
(Parker 85; Essien 2 83, Kalou 17)
Chelsea may have conceded their first goal of the season but a fourth straight win kept them two points clear of Arsenal FC at the Premier League summit. Since the last time they conceded, against Tottenham Hotspur FC on 17 April, Chelsea had scored a league record 35 unanswered goals in 669 minutes.

Did you know?
The sides have met before, in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. It finished 5-0 on aggregate to the London side, who won 2-0 in Zilina and 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. John Terry and Lampard played in both games.

See the match background for more information.