Chelsea v Bayer Leverkusen;
Champions League Group E;
Tues, 13th Sep; 1945 KO
LIVE TEAM SHEET
Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole; Meireles, Mikel, Malouda; Sturridge, Torres, Mata.
Subs: Hilario, Lampard, Ferreira, McEachran, Kalou, Alex, Anelka
Villas-Boas relishing Euro test
Andre Villas-Boas is understandably excited about making his Champions League debut tonight, as the Blues take on German outfit Bayer Leverkusen in their first group match of the season.
Chelsea are favourites to win the tie at Stamford Bridge, and a victory will surely boost Villas-Boas’ confidence in the competition, after he won the Europa League with Porto last season.
And the young manager is not getting ahead of himself over all the hype surrounding Chelsea’s positioning in the competition, saying he understands just how difficult it will be to progress through Group E.
"It's the most difficult competition," Villas-Boas said. "If you compare it to international competitions, it's a lot of good teams competing for one trophy.
"The amount of top teams is even more visible this year with the amount of teams with quality in depth in their squads – with Manchester City; Inter Milan will try to regain the trophy they lost two seasons ago and Real Madrid with the squad they have. There are so many in-depth squads that can go all the way.
"I've not been in the World Cup. I'm pretty inexperienced in this competition as well. Motivation plays a big part in international football, and in the World Cup for sure. The players are involved completely with that sole objective to win it.
"The Champions League is more difficult because it's an 'in between' competition – most of the clubs in it are competing for domestic honours as well. It is a more difficult task because it requires more of this players' talent and more of the manager's awareness to motivate everybody, to rotate players, keep people fresh."
Villas-Boas will no doubt be dealing with maximum pressure throughout the group stages, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich desperate to lift the coveted Champions League trophy for the first time.