Bayer Leverkusen Vs. Chelsea, 2011 UEFA Champions League Matchday 5 Preview: Battle For First In Group E

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Jose Bosingwa (R) of Chelsea holds off the challenge of Michal Kadlec (L) of Bayer Leverkusen during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Chelsea FC and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge on September 13, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Chelsea head to Germany in a precarious position as Bayer Leverkusen can overtake them for the top spot in the group with a win over the struggling English club

Chelsea were supposed to have a bit more a cushion in their UEFA Champions League group by now. They were also supposed to be Racing Genk though, even if it was a way. Instead, they only drew and instead of having some breathing room atop Group E, they lead Bayer Leverkusen by only one point. Luckily for us, they play Leverkusen on Wednesday too, setting the stage for a brilliant match in Germany.

The two teams opened up their Champions League campaigns against each other way back on September 13th at Stamford Bridge in a match that saw David Luiz put Chelsea in front in the 67th minute and Juan Mata seal things in injury time for the 2-0 win.

The Blues' win over Leverkusen came early in the season though, before they went through their struggles of the last month. Starting with a loss to Queens Park Rangers, Chelsea have won just two of their six matches since October 23. That includes their loss to QPR, as well as losses at home to Arsenal and Liverpool. Their defense has fallen apart as John Terry and Ashley Cole begin to show their age, while David Luiz is bearing the brunt of the blame because apparently only he is not allowed to make mistakes and all of the good things he does don't count. Chelsea are in a fair bit of trouble.

Meanwhile, Leverkusen, who were expected to spend their time battling Valencia for second in the group are a win away from moving into first place in the group. They trail Chelsea by just two points and with the group's cellar dweller, Genk, their opponent for the final match day, a win over the Blues could very well mean the top spot in the group is theirs.

If Leverkusen are to best the Blues, it will likely be largely due to the play of Sidney Sam. The bright, young midfielder has been at the heart of Leverkusen's most exciting forays forward this season as he roams, darts and dashes his way through defenders to score, or more often, leave the defense discombobulated to make it easy pickings for his teammates. If he can get going then Andre Schurrle, Stefan Kiebling and the rejuvenated Michael Ballack will find themselves with more than enough opportunities against Chelsea's reeling defense. Advantage, Leverkusen.

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