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Champions League: FC Copenhagen v Chelsea Preview

After two months of anticipation, in which time they have not played a competitive game, FC Copenhagen “are buzzing” ahead of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 visit of Chelsea FC on Tuesday according to coach Ståle Solbakken. Carlo Ancelotti is well aware of FC Copenhagen’s quality from their fine group-stage performance that ensured they became the first Danish side to progress this far.

Ståle Solbakken, FC Copenhagen coach
Tomorrow is the night we have looked forward to for months. We have been preparing for this match since the start of January and although we haven’t had a competitive match in 2011 we are in fine shape and hopefully close to the level we were in the group stage. The players are buzzing with confidence and I feel we can match Chelsea in what I expect to be a close game.

We will try to control the game, keep possession, create chances and try to exploit any eventual Chelsea errors. Chelsea are not in the best of form at the moment, but I feel they have played better than their results showed in their last couple of games. The crowd’s belief in us will be a great help: 7,000 of our supporters had confidence that we could win when we played at Camp Nou and with a full stadium tomorrow we will benefit massively. I hope we will win, but a scoreless draw will not be a bad result for us

Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager
The Champions League is the most important competition for us right now. We’re under a lot of pressure, but even though things recently have not gone as planned, the players’ behaviour has been fantastic. This is football – you can’t always stay on top, but if we have patience we can turn this around. It could still be a great season.

Copenhagen are a very good team who showed a lot of quality in the group stage. They have fantastic organisation and their work ethic is second to none. It will be difficult but if we have courage we can win.

Team News
Copenhagen

Copenhagen have not played a competitive match in over two months.

Chelsea
Alex (knee) and Yossi Benayoun (Achilles) are long-term absentees, but Yuri Zhirkov is back in action after suffering a calf strain in Russia’s defeat by Belgium on 17 November. John Obi Mikel misses the next game if he receives another yellow card. Of Chelsea’s high-profile signings, Fernando Torres is registered but David Luiz is ineligible.

Prediction
This is a much harder game than a lot of people think as Copenhagen is not an easy place to go and win. In their three group stage home games, Copenhagen had two wins and a 1-1 draw with Barcelona. That is impressive.

The huge advantage Chelsea have is that Copenhagen have not played a competitive game for over two months and I expect that lack of match fitness to tell here as Chelsea get a valuable away goal.

Score: Copenhagen 1 Chelsea 1

What do you think the score will be?

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