Chelsea FC do not intend to make it a happy return to Stamford Bridge for Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Michael Ballack, whose former club have an impressive record in the group stage.
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Michael Ballack makes a sentimental return to London with Bayer 04 Leverkusen to face Chelsea FC knowing his former club have an auspicious record in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Chelsea, who are making their tenth attempt to lift the trophy and are under new management again with the arrival of André Villas-Boas after he guided FC Porto to last season's UEFA Europa League crown, have finished as group winners in six of their last eight campaigns. In addition they qualified for the knockout rounds in the other two years.
• For the first competitive meeting between the teams, Chelsea can take heart from their record against German visitors. In five previous home encounters the Premier League side have still to taste defeat, winning four and drawing one.
• In only one of those fixtures did their opponents manage to score, the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-final when FC Bayern München struck twice in a 4-2 defeat. Ballack scored a penalty for Bayern in that game and was then on target, also from the spot, for Chelsea against SV Werder Bremen in a group stage fixture in September 2006.
• Chelsea also defeated German opposition to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in May 1998, Gianfranco Zola scoring the only goal against VfB Stuttgart in Solna.
• Leverkusen, in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2004/05, have not won in their seven visits to England. They gained a draw last time out, 0-0 at Blackburn Rovers FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage, but lost five of the previous six games. The German side have only won two of 15 fixtures with English sides, losing nine.
• Chelsea have won seven of their nine matchday one fixtures, running out 4-1 victors at MŠK Žilina last season. They won all three home games in the group and finished with a three-point advantage over Olympique de Marseille.
• In the knockout rounds they overcame FC København thanks to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge but then bowed out to Manchester United FC 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, losing 1-0 at home and 2-1 away. That prevented them achieving a sixth UEFA Champions League semi-final appearance in eight years.
• The United defeat was the Blues' second at home in six UEFA Champions League fixtures. Before going down at home to FC Internazionale Milano in the 2009/10 round of 16 the London club were unbeaten in 21 games at Stamford Bridge in the competition, including 15 victories.
• This is Leverkusen's seventh participation in the competition. In their latest group campaign seven years ago, last season's Bundesliga runners-up lost 4-2 at FC Dynamo Kyiv before drawing 1-1 at both AS Roma and Real Madrid CF, finishing top of the group with 11 points. They failed to progress from the round of 16, however, losing 3-1 both home and away against Liverpool FC.
• Ballack is in his second spell with Leverkusen, returning there last summer after four seasons at Chelsea following his 2006 move from Bayern. He won three FA Cups with the London club, the last in 2010 to complete a double with the Premier League, and in 2008 scored their first goal in the shoot-out to decide the UEFA Champions League final with Manchester United. The scores were tied at 1-1 after extra time with United winning 6-5 on penalties.
• Fernando Torres scored the winner for Spain in the UEFA EURO 2008 final in Vienna against a Germany side containing Ballack. In the quarter-finals Ballack and Simon Rolfes were involved as Germany won 3-2 against a Portugal side which included José Bosingwa and Paulo Ferreira, Ballack scoring Germany's third goal.
• Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole all played for England against Germany in the last 16 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Stefan Kiessling was an 83rd-minute substitute for Germany, who prevailed 4-1.
• When England played Germany at Wembley in August 2007, Gonzalo Castro and Rolfes were substitutes for the visitors, who won 2-1. Lampard scored the game's opening goal while John Terry also featured for England.
• Torres' Spain team were 2-1 winners against a Czech Republic team including Michal Kadlec and Petr Čech in a UEFA EURO 2012 in Granada on 25 March.
• Florent Malouda's France won 1-0 in a 9 February friendly against the Brazil of David Luiz and Renato Augusto in Paris.
• In June Tranquillo Barnetta and Eren Derdiyok were in the Switzerland team that drew 2-2 at Wembley against an England side including Ashley Cole, Terry and Lampard.