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English football clubs look to maintain victorious start, French to bounce back

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 30 Sep 2008

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Both Chelsea and Liverpool will be looking to notch up their second successive Champions League victory when they play surprise Romanian package Cluj and PSV Eindhoven respectively on Wednesday.

Chelsea outclassed French side Bordeaux in their first match of the campaign a fortnight ago but may find Cluj a tougher proposition after they pulled off a stunning victory over AS Roma in their debut in the competition.

Liverpool started with a hardfought 2-1 away win over Bordeaux' French rivals Marseille and have a good recent record over PSV while the Dutch side's coach Huub Stevens has never won either as a player or coach in England.

Marseille will travel with some trepidation to Madrid to take on dark horses Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea will be hoping to sink their fangs into Cluj's jugular when they travel to Transylvania – the land of horror story icon Dracula.

Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari warned fans not to expect the samba style just yet after the London all-stars were made to battle for a 2-0 win over Stoke on Saturday – and it will be no different against the Romanians.

Cluj inflicted one of shocks of the first round by humbling Roma in the Italian capital with the help of a double from Argentinian Juan Culio.

Chelsea may have hit Bordeaux for four the same night, but Cluj – who won their first championship last season – appear likely to pose more problems as Scolari admitted.

“The Bordeaux game was a good experience for us but the game against Cluj will be different,” he said. “If Cluj can win away from home (like they did at Roma) then we are in danger.”

Liverpool go into Wednesday's tie away to PSV Eindhoven full of confidence.

Rafa Benitez will hand Ryan Babel a star role as the Dutch international faces a side he first played against as an Ajax player.

“Our view of Ryan is a player who starts games and has an impact from the beginning, not just as a sub,” Benitez told the club's website Monday. “But first of all he has to improve tactically and we are working with him on that.”

However, the man that PSV should really be wary of is Fernando Torres as he showed a return to goalscoring form with a double at the weekend in the Liverpool derby victory over Everton.

Benitez's side are unbeaten this season and Torres's return to form has left Liverpool's Spanish manager brimming with optimism about the rest of the campaign.

Torres had appeared to be suffering something of a hangover from his efforts in Spain's triumphant Euro 2008 campaign but he looked back to his best as he claimed both goals in the derby win over Everton at the weekend.

“Fernando is the kind of player who can change games and it is very positive for us that he has confidence now,” Benitez said.

“He's a threat for defenders and the only thing he is missing at the moment is his physical condition. When he came back from the European Championships it was important for him to rest and then train properly.

“He had an injury and he still has to improve physically. He is working so hard and he will get better – he will have more pace and be stronger.”

Atletico will seek to rebound from a 1-0 defeat to Sevilla at the weekend and are hopeful that both Dutch international defender John Heitinga and seasoned Portuguese midfielder Maniche will be fit to return – Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan is definitely a non starter.

Marseille coach Eric Gerets is praying that Ivory Coast striker Bakary Kone is fully recovered from a leg muscle injury to partner Senegal's Mamadou Niang up front.

Bordeaux would probably have preferred not to be meeting a Roma side that looks to have steadied the ship after a shaky start to the season – in as much as they managed to win at the weekend, beating Atalanta 2-0.

While they have been boosted by the return of French central defender Philippe Mexes there are doubts over their talismanic captain Francesco Totti, who put a premature halt to his training session on Monday because of concerns over one of his knees.

Bordeaux by contrast should have Brazilian star Wendel and midfield partner Alou Diarra back in harness after they sat out the 1-1 draw with St Etienne on Sunday – however veteran goalkeeper Ulrich Rame seems certain to miss the clash because of a groin problem.

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  • Fortune Okato

    0 0

    Unlike other leagues,the English clubs did very well in the previous champions league,the four teams representing Englang went far,it was an English final, I am predicting an English final this season. England rules.

  • Fortune Okato

    0 0

    English league is one of the most interesting league in the world

  • Fortune Okato

    0 0

    English league is one of the most interesting league in the world

  • Fortune Okato

    0 0

    Unlike other leagues,the English clubs did very well in the previous champions league,the four teams representing Englang went far,it was an English final, I am predicting an English final this season. England rules.

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