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Chelsea Champions League hopes bolstered by returning defenders

| 16.05.2012

Chelsea head into Saturday’s Champions League final with suspensions aplenty, so Gary Cahill and David Luiz’s return to training is a massive boost to their chances of lifting the trophy at 7/4.

In addition to the suspensions of midfielders Raul Meireles and Ramires, defensive pairing John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are also banned, leaving the Blues with a severely depleted backline.

However, Cahill and Luiz could now be set to answer their club’s call, having partaken in a full contact training session on Tuesday, as they aim to shake off hamstring troubles.

The session represented Cahill’s first fully fledged action since he was forced off in the Champions League semi-final away to Barcelona, and he emerged unscathed.

Similarly, Luiz was put through his paces for the first time in over a month too, but reacted well and demonstrated impressive agility in slippery conditions at the club’s Cobham training facility.

Jose Bosingwa meanwhile, was forced to withdraw early from the training session, though his exit from participation was believed to be a precautionary measure, and he should be fit to start the final at right-back.

Elsewhere, Florent Malouda is an injury doubt for the Bayern Munich clash, after tweaking his hamstring in Chelsea’s final Premier League game of the season against Blackburn.

Whilst this news will be unwelcome, Roberto Di Matteo’s priority must be to maintain the fitness of his defenders, and have them available to line up on Saturday.

He will therefore be buoyed by the reaction of his centre halves, with Cahill telling BBC Sport, “There’s some work to be done in two or three days now leading up to the game for me to get back into it.

“But, touch wood, there’s no reaction from today. I felt fine out there.”

Luiz was similarly confident of his chances of making the final, with the Brazilian declaring, “I’m so happy to return to training and now I can help Chelsea in this final.”

The defensive duo’s confidence bodes well for Chelsea, and improves their hopes of justifying 7/2 odds to win in 90 minutes at the Allianz Arena.



John Klee