Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Bundesliga rise may be in contrast with Chelsea FC's dip in England, but home coach Robin Dutt is taking nothing for granted as both teams chase a knockout spot.
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Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Chelsea FC go into their BayArena meeting in contrasting form but both coaches know a win will secure their side a spot in the last 16 with one Group E game to play.
Coach Robin Dutt
We are right to count on having home advantage. You could see that Lars Bender [sat next to the coach at the official press conference] has positive memories of our two home wins in the competition so far and also of our good performance in London [when Chelsea won 2-0], but this time we also want to win the match.
We go into the game with seven points from our last three Bundesliga matches and also know that Chelsea are not quite having the season they were expecting and have lost three of their last four matches. That doesn't make them a weaker side, although they do have a certain pressure on them now. We're looking forward to this match as we'll be through to the round of 16 with a win and would even lead the group.
[The Champions League] is no different for a coach than it is for a player. I've worked my whole career to be here, to compete with the best. I've also told the team that there's a big difference between just taking part in the group stage and reaching the knockout phase, when there is even more focus on you.
Friday: 1. FC Kaiserslautern 0-2 Leverkusen (Ballack 53, Sam 70)
Leno; Schwaab, Friedrich, Toprak, Kadlec; Bender, Reinartz (Rolfes 77); Sam, Ballack, Castro (Oczipka 90); Kiessling (Derdiyok 88)
• Michael Ballack, wearing a face mask due to his broken nose, and Sidney Sam struck against their former side. Dutt said the in-form Ballack's experience is "tremendously important" to the team.
Bastian Oczipka, out since breaking an ankle on loan at FC St Pauli on 19 February, made his Leverkusen debut on Friday, when André Schürrle was ruled out through illness. "He trained [on Monday and Tuesday] and we need to find out whether he's fit enough to start or be on the bench," said Dutt of the German international.
Manager André Villas-Boas
It is a different competition and our position here is dramatically different. We have an extremely good opportunity to progress with a win which is what we are seeking. As impossible as it may seem in the Premier League, we are still in all competitions and the belief is still there. The emotion and the belief is something you can never let go as a player or as a person.
The situation is that we were playing fantastically well up until the QPR game [on 23 October]. Since then you could not say that Chelsea have played badly, but you could say Chelsea have lost; that's the run we have to face every day. We're happy with the way we're playing but the philosophy is the last thing to change. These players have immense talent [but] we need confidence, efficiency and consistency.
Our [home] game against Leverkusen was one of the most interesting we have had so far ... it was tactical but both teams wanted to win. To pay a compliment to Robin, he plays attacking football and you have to applaud people who do this. A draw wouldn't be bad, but bearing in mind our recent results a win is what we are looking for.
Sunday: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool FC (Sturridge 55; Maxi Rodríguez 33, Johnson 87)
Čech; Ivanović, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel (Sturridge 46); Ramires (Meireles 84), Lampard; Mata, Drogba (Torres 84), Malouda
• Chelsea's third loss in four Premier League games leaves them 12 points behind leaders Manchester City FC.
Villas-Boas confirmed that Nicolas Anelka is fit and available.
In a total of 16 fixtures against English opponents, the Werkself have won two, with ten ending in defeat; at home their record is W2 D2 L4.