Two of our players have been looking ahead to tonight’s Champions League game in Galatasaray, with Ramires stressing the importance of scoring a potentially crucial away goal and Andre Schurrle hoping to emerge from the stadium with a similar result to the one he helped secure on his previous visit.
Didier Drogba is expected to lead the line for the home side, with the player who helped win the Champions League with his very last kick for the club, facing us for the first time since departing in 2012.
The Ivorian’s presence in opposition colours is sure to be a strange sight for all connected with Chelsea, and with the Turkish outfit now under the stewardship of Roberto Mancini, Ramires is expecting the sternest of tests.
‘We know it’s going to be difficult and it always is when you play against one of Mancini’s teams,’ the Brazilian tells the official Chelsea website.
‘They are very solid, well organised and it’s really hard to pass through them but we will do everything we can to get beyond their defence and score what could be an important away goal.’
The Brazilian was a pivotal figure en route to lifting the trophy two years ago, but while his campaign then will quite rightly be remembered for the sublime chip he scored in the Camp Nou, his relationship on the pitch with Drogba proved fruitful on a couple of occasions.
It was Ramires who supplied the cross from which Drogba opened the scoring in the 4-1 win over Napoli at Stamford Bridge, and the two combined once more, again at home, for the striker to score the only goal of the game in the semi-final first leg against Barcelona.
‘It’s going to be very difficult going up against Didier because he’s such a good player,’ says Ramires.
‘He’s a legend for this club and I had the pleasure of playing alongside him for a few years. We all know how dangerous he is and in these type of matches he can be very powerful but, of course, we are going to do our best to stop him.’
Our only previous visit to Galatasaray, back in October 1999, saw us run out convincing 5-0 winners in the group stages of the competition, and while expecting a similar scoreline may be considered ambitious, Ramires believes we can come out on top over the two legs.
‘It will be two difficult games because their players are very tricky and experienced in the Champions League,’ he says.
‘To play away first will be tough but we’ve played in similar stadiums in the past. I don’t think the atmosphere will be a problem because it will be 11 against 11 on the field and we’re confident of getting a good result.’
Schurrle was part of a Germany national side which beat Turkey at the venue for tonight’s game, the Turk Telekom Arena, in a qualifying match for the 2012 European Championships.
The attacking midfielder played the last half an hour in a 3-1 win after replacing Lukas Podolski; he remembers an extremely passionate set of supporters and expects similar when we take to the field tonight.
‘The atmosphere is crazy and the Turkish mentality is to do everything for their team,’ he recalls.
‘They push them and it is a really hot atmosphere. The stadium is very nice, it is new so it is going to be a good game, a good atmosphere.
‘The noise is very loud, they all scream, but I don’t think it is the loudest I have ever played in though. I think Dortmund is a little louder.’
– Chelsea TV’s ‘Matchnight Live’ will be on air from 6.30pm. Guests are Pat Nevin and Kerry Dixon and there will be pre-match interviews with Jose Mourinho and Petr Cech, plus more from Didier Drogba.