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Euro giants play in Spain

Michael Ballack in his Chelsea days

Two of European football’s giants face off at the Camp Nou as Milan battle Barcelona in Group H of the Champions League.

The Spanish side will be hoping to put one of the competitions most successful sides to the sword as the Rossoneri are only second in European Cup wins with seven, only two behind Los Cules’ rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona let a two goal lead slip at the weekend against Real Sociedad who managed to draw 2-2 with the Spanish champions, despite Xavi and co dominating the majority of the game.

Meanwhile Milan also played out a 2-2 draw in their match with Lazio at the San Siro, but it was they who had to comeback from two goals down.

The Rossoneri are expected to make a few changes for the match in Spain, with Mark van Bommel set to start against his former club as Gennaro Gattuso continues to serve a four match ban.

However, the big news for Milan is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of the match with a groin strain, thus Pato is set to get the nod to partner Antonio Cassano.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is expected to make changes to his squad for tonight’s Champions’ League group stage opener against Bayer Leverkusen.

“You’ll see some changes,” said Villas-Boas, admitting he also has Sunday’s trip to Manchester United in mind.

“Then we’ll make wise decisions for Sunday. It is very tight. Most of the players were away with their countries last week, we played at Sunderland on Saturday and now we have this European match. We have only four days to recover for Old Trafford and this has to play a part in my team selection,” he continued.

Lionel Messi lines up against Milan

The two sides have not played each other in the Champions League before and there is no head to head record between the two sides. However, Chelsea have yet to be beaten by German opposition in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge whilst Bayer Leverkusen have never won a Champions League encounter on English soil, clearly it will be a tough ask for the German side to get off to a winning start.

Michael Ballack returns to Stamford Bridge and will no doubt receive a standing ovation after spending four years at the club, playing 104 games for the club in a successful period for the club. Elsewhere Arsenal travel to Dortmund hoping to put their Premier league woes behind them.

Tonight Mancehster City host Napoli while Manchester United travel to Benfica.




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