PSG, Chelsea prepare for Champions League clash

Chelsea and Paris St Germain go into Tuesday's Champions League Group H encounter at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Chelsea and Paris St Germain go into Tuesday's Champions League Group H encounter at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France off the back of contrasting starts to their domestic seasons. Chelsea are currently second in the English Premier League, two points behind leaders Arsenal. French club Paris Saint-Germain and England's Chelsea have never played each other in European competition, and Tuesday's first fixture between the two sides is sure to attract plenty of interest. Steady rain greeted the Chelsea squad when they turned out for their first training session at the Parc des Princes. The English Premier League runners-up are out to improve on their Champions League semi-final appearance last season, and with big-name off-season signings such as Didier Drogba, they must feel that that is a possibility. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who won the Champions League with FC Porto last season, is mindful of the need to pick up points on the road, whilst not relying entirely on results at home. "If you start the group stage at home, you have to win. If you start the group stage away of home, you have to get the point. This is normally very crucial for the objectives of the teams. So if tomorrow we can leave Paris with a point, is normally good in terms of to be in the next group, in the next stage. But this is not the way we think. We come here to play with victory in our minds and we don't come here to play a defensive game," said Jose Mourinho, Chelsea Manager. Chelsea have visited France on two previous occasions, losing both times - 1-0 to Olympique Marseille in the 1999/2000 Champions League and 3-1 in last season's semi-final at AS Monaco. The English club have only two injured absentees, Dutch winger Arjen Robben and Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, whilst defender Celestine Babayaro has been rested and did not travel. Those who did make the trip know how important it is to at least match the feats of last season's team. "A lot of players they were last year in the semi-final. I think this year we want to equalise, at least equalise this result from last year because I think it is always great to win something special like the Champions League. We know it is going to be difficult," said Petr Cech, Chelsea Goalkeeper. Troubled Paris St Germain are still without a French League win and lie 14th in the table after three draws and two defeats in their opening five matches. Only one other team in the top division, Racing Strasbourg, have conceded more than PSG's nine goals. The Parisians, though, will be at full strength as international defender Bernard Mendy is back from a leg injury, and in Edouard Cisse and Jerome Rothen they have two players who appeared in last season's Champions League final with AS Monaco. Paris Saint-Germain have won their last three home matches in European competition. The French club are also unbeaten in eight European home matches since losing 3-1 to Deportivo La Coruna in November of 2000. Chelsea, though, have scored in their last eight European matches away from Stamford Bridge and must start as favourites for Tuesday's game. (AP)