So it's one eye on this match and the other on the Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Juventus match in Ukraine. Chelsea need the home team to win both; it's the only way for the Blues to advance to the knockout rounds.
And no, if the results don't work out, they would not be the first champions to fail so early at defending their crown - just the first to do so in the "Champions League" era. Back in previous incarnations of the most elite of continental competitions, several winners have fallen at the first hurdle, including Real Madrid ('60), Celtic ('67), Feyenoord ('70), Ajax ('73), Liverpool ('78), Nottingham Forest ('80), Hamburg ('83), and Dinamo Bucharest ('86).
Oh look, another Liverpool connection that we should try to avoid!
FCN starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Jesper Hansen; Patrick Mtiliga, Ivan Runje, Mark Gundelach, Michael Parkhurst; Nicolai Stokholm, Enoch Kofi Adu; Joshua John, Anders Christiansen, Kasper Lorentzen; Mario Ticinovic
Substitutes from: tba
Mikel's new contract bonus is a spot on the bench. Thanks, coach!
UP THE BLUES! FORZA SHAKHTAR!