Nordsjælland takes on a difficult opponent in their home opener October 2, as the Tigers play host to Chelsea. This will be the first home match for Nordsjælland in Group E of the Champions League tournament.
This is the first time the Tigers have competed in the Champions league after posting a 6-1-7 record in the UEFA Europa League. This should be a good experience for Nordsjælland, but they are significant underdogs to visiting Chelsea.
Chelsea enters the contest as the No. 5-ranked team in the UEFA Rankings, a list dominated by English teams. Four of the top six teams on the list hail from England.
The Blues are coming off a 2-2 draw with Juventus. Nordsjælland dropped a 2-0 contest to Shakhtar Donetsk, falling to the bottom of Group E.
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: October 2, 2:45 p.m. EST
TV/Live Stream: Sky Sports 2
Chelsea: Avoiding the Upset
Chelsea is undoubtedly the superior team in this match. They have the experience, talent and coaching to run away with this one pretty handily, but they cannot overlook their opponent.
The Blues know what happens when an opponent is taken lightly. In the 2012 UEFA Super Cup, Chelsea entered the match with Atletico Madrid as heavy favorites. Fueled by a hat trick from Radamel Falcao, Madrid knocked off Chelsea 4-1 en route to the Super Cup title.
After the draw with Juventus, the Blues could use a decisive win over Nordsjælland. With stars like Petr Cech, Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic, look for Chelsea to cruise in this one.
Nordsjælland: Embrace Home Field
Fortunately for Nordsjælland, they get this difficult contest on their home pitch. That will give the Tigers a bit of a boost and a slight advantage early.
This will be an emotional opportunity for the Tigers, as they look to claw their way to respectability in the Champions League. A win over a power like Chelsea would go a long way in accomplishing that, but that’s no easy task.
Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand will need to pull all the right strings to pull off this Group E upset. The team is currently third in the Danish Super League. Nordsjælland does have some serious weapons.
Striker Joshua John had seven goals in league play, four more than anyone else on the team. The Tigers use a balanced midfield with Nicolai Stokholm, Soren Christensen and Kasper Lorentzen to keep defenses honest.
An active midfield will help Nordsjælland, but they have to be wary of a potent counter from Chelsea. The Tigers’ backfield will be consistently tested by the Blues' attack with strikers Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, combined with productive midfielder Frank Lampard.
Nordsjælland comes out firing early, but the Chelsea depth is too much for the Tigers. Chelsea gets a strong performance from Cech and their first group-state win, 3-1.