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Champions Chelsea must win and hope

Chelsea FC must defeat FC Nordsjælland to keep alive their defence and avoid becoming the first holders to exit in the group stage, although even a win might not be enough.

Juventus got the better of Chelsea last time out, leaving the holders in a perilous position
Juventus got the better of Chelsea last time out, leaving the holders in a perilous position ©AFP/Getty Images

Less than seven months after lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy for the first time, Chelsea FC are on the verge of becoming the first holders to have their title defence ended in the group stage. The London club must now defeat FC Nordsjælland to retain a chance of progressing from Group E, although even that would not be enough if second-placed Juventus avoid defeat at FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

• The 3-0 defeat in Turin on matchday five has left Chelsea, who have never failed to qualify for the last 16 in any of their ten previous UEFA Champions League campaigns, with an uphill task. Nordsjælland will finish fourth and, after suffering their fourth defeat at home to Shakhtar last time out, will be hoping to bow out with a first victory.

• The loss at Juventus prompted Chelsea to dismiss manager Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benítez taking over for the remainder of the season.

• It all looked so different on matchday two when Chelsea ran out 4-0 winners in Copenhagen, set on their way by Juan Mata's first-half effort. Chances missed by the home side left them vulnerable to Chelsea's late surge which brought a second for Mata and goals from David Luiz and Ramires, all in the last 11 minutes.

• Chelsea's first two home games in Group E were epic struggles, a 2-2 draw at home to Juventus after they had led 2-0 and a 3-2 defeat of Shakhtar.

• Nordsjælland's UEFA Champions League debut ended with a 2-0 defeat in Ukraine and they were beaten 4-0 at Juve in their fourth fixture. Their sole point had come two weeks earlier with a 1-1 home draw against the Italian champions.

Previous meetings
• Their meeting on 2 October was the Danish champions' first competitive meeting with English opposition, while Chelsea's results at home to visitors from Denmark are less impressive than their results away.

• They faced FC København in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League round of 16 and in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round and each time failed to win the home leg, drawing 1-1 in 1998 and 0-0 13 years later. On each occasion, however, away wins – 1-0 and 2-0 respectively – ensured victory in the tie.

Match background
• Chelsea won all three home group games in 2011/12, scoring ten goals without conceding, and recorded three more home victories in the knockout stages as they claimed the trophy for the first time.

• Nordsjælland won their maiden Danish Superliga title last season and have had four campaigns in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League, reaching the first round proper twice. On each occasion they lost to Greek opponents, going down to Panionios GSS in 2003/04 and Olympiacos FC in 2008/09.

• Last year the Farum club were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League in the play-offs, beaten 2-1 by Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second leg after the game in Denmark had ended goalless.

• They are without a victory in 11 European games, home and away, losing nine; their last win was 2-1 at home to Queen of the South FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

Team ties
• Anders Christiansen was part of the Denmark Under-21 team that lost 4-0 to England in a friendly international in Viborg on 24 March 2011.

• Kasper Lorentzen's Denmark lost 1-0 in a U21 friendly against England in Herning on August 16 2005.

• Lorentzen's Denmark lost 3-0 to England in a 2004 UEFA European U19 Championship qualifier in Kidricevo, Slovenia. Søren Christensen appeared as a substitute.

• On 26 March 2005, Christensen was part of the Denmark team that lost 1-0 to England in a European U19 Championship qualifier in Crewe.

• Andreas Laudrup was a substitute when Denmark's U17s defeated England 1-0 in a tournament in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, on 5 December 2006.

• Lorentzen was part of the Denmark team that drew 0-0 against England in Hvidovre in the UEFA European U17 Championship on 1 May 2002.

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