Chelsea v Juventus preview
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By Rachel Griffiths - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsRachG. Last Updated: September 19, 2012 11:20am
Roberto Di Matteo: Looking to defend title with Chelsea
After ending their wait for much-coveted European glory last season, Chelsea start their defence of the UEFA Champions League title at home to two-time winners Juventus on Wednesday night.
The Blues proved the doubters wrong when they finally lifted the trophy in May after a stunning run to the final, with Didier Drogba presiding over one of the biggest moments in the club's history when he fired home the winning penalty in a shootout at Bayern Munich with what was poignantly his final kick in a Chelsea shirt.
Roberto Di Matteo's men will aim to make history again this season as they bid to become the first club to win back-to-back European titles - or "do the impossible" as the Italian manager described their mission this week.
But the Londoners have been handed a tough start to their Group E campaign as they host reigning Italian champions and European veterans Juve at Stamford Bridge.
With a potentially tricky trip to Shakhtar Donetsk lying in wait next month after they visit Danish minnows FC Nordsjaelland, Chelsea will be eager to make a bright start in front of a home crowd against Juve.
But the Turin giants are likely to be in a buoyant mood for their journey to West London after stretching their unbeaten Serie A run to an astonishing 42 games with a 3-1 win over Genoa at the weekend to remain at the helm of the early standings.
Their undefeated streak has not faltered in the absence of head coach Antonio Conte, who is serving a 10-month touchline ban for not reporting match-fixing while at Siena in 2010-11.
Chelsea will also be feeling confident after making a similarly impressive start to the season, which has seen them take 10 points from their opening four games to sit top of the fledgling Premier League table.
The Blues edge the head-to-head record in the brief history between the two clubs, having beaten Juve 1-0 at home in 2009 ahead of a 2-2 draw in Turin to reach the quarter-finals at their expense.
Chelsea boss Di Matteo has John Terry and Ashley Cole at his disposal after both shook off the knocks that ruled them out of recent England internationals.
John Obi Mikel is also available after recovering from a minor back problem picked up against QPR at the weekend.
The manager should welcome back Juan Mata after he was rested at the weekend in the goalless draw at Loftus Road, with the Spaniard likely to feature alongside new signing Eden Hazard in midfield as he gets his first taste of European football with the Blues.
Juve's stand-in coach Massimo Carrera is without Simone Padoin, Simone Pepe (both thigh) and Lucio (ankle) as they recover from respective injuries.
Kwadwo Asamoah scored at the weekend and could start ahead of Sebastian Giovinco.
Nicklas Bendtner is still waiting to feature following his loan move from Arsenal, while former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is yet to make his Juve debut but has been named in the squad.
- Chelsea have made it out of the group stages every time in each of their 10 previous Champions League participations.
- Juventus are making their 13th appearance in the Champions League and their first since the 2009/10 season. Only AC Milan have made more appearances among Italian sides.
- The last non-English side to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League were Inter Milan in March 2010.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 30 Storari
- 19 Bonucci
- 3 Chiellini
- 4 Caceres
- 11 De Ceglie
- 21 Pirlo
- 20 Padoin
- 33 Isla
- 12 Giovinco
- 24 Giaccherini
- 27 Quagliarella
Team taken from Juventus vs Sampdoria (Italy Serie A) on Saturday 18th May 2013