Porto and Chelsea of course have something special in common – former manager Jose Mourinho. Neither side have quite scaled the heights they achieved under the Special One, although Porto have managed to win the title for the last three seasons under coach Jesualdo Ferreira.
Porto's Estadio do Dragao was therefore the perfect setting yesterday for Chelsea captain John Terry to say he and his fellow players are once again sensing that feeling of invincibility that ran through the club under Mourinho. The effects of Carlo Ancelotti's winning formula are starting to be felt, he said.
In fact, the England captain went as far as to say that other teams are starting to fear Chelsea again, judging by the glowing compliments he received from his Premier League rivals when he met up with the England squad for the recent friendly with Brazil.
Terry said: "I really do think we are close to getting back to the invincible feel we had three years ago and I listened to other players when we were away with England and they are talking about how we are playing like that now. They are fearing us again.
"They are confident that we are playing well and could go on to do great things again this year. When we were winning the Premier League, we had that invincible feel and I think that we are getting close to that again. It's key to get that back. The Premier League is throwing up all sorts of difficult situations, difficult away games as we have found already. We went to Wigan and lost, away to Villa and lost as well.
"It's just about regrouping and keeping everyone fit and believing in what we can do. If we can do that, with the way we played at the weekend, for everyone else to see and hopefully fear us, which is what we had a couple of years ago."
Having lost those two games on their travels in September and October, Chelsea are about to play four away games that will go some way to determine whether Terry is correct in his claim. Tonight's Group D contest in Porto is followed by Sunday's game at title rivals Arsenal, before a Carling Cup fifth-round tie at Blackburn and a Premier League trip to Manchester City.
"That's the challenge major title-winning teams rise to," said Terry, who will play his 300th game as Chelsea captain tonight, taking him past Dennis Wise in appearances. "Not many teams win in Porto but we can do it. We've had some good results at Arsenal recently and another one could cement our position at the top of the table.
"Manchester City are top-four contenders and have a great record at home. There's also Blackburn in the Carling Cup. On the two occasions we've won the Carling Cup recently we've gone on to win other things – the Premier League in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2007. It's the appetiser."
Tonight's match with Porto is all about who tops the group and is seeded in the knock-out stage, as both sides have already qualified. Although there is relatively little resting on the outcome of the match, Ancelotti challenged his side to show their Champions League credentials in what is likely to be an intimidating atmosphere.
"We want to show our courage and personality, which is a difficult thing to do in this stadium. That is important in the Champions League and that is what I want to see," Ancelotti said.
Chelsea include 18-year-old Gaël Kakuta in their squad, following his impressive debut against Wolves last weekend. Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho, Yuri Zhirkov and Didier Drogba also return to the squad, with Drogba likely to be on the bench. Michael Essien has a slight knee injury and will probably drop to the bench.
Results so far: Chelsea 1 Porto 0, Atletico Madrid o Apoel Nicosia 0; Porto 2 Atletico Madrid 0, Apoel Nicosia 0 Chelsea 1; Porto 2 Apoel Nicosia 1; Chelsea 4 Atletico Madrid 0; Apoel Nicosia 0 Porto 1, Atletico Madrid 2 Chelsea 2
Chelsea's remaining fixtures: Tonight: Porto (a); Tue 8 Dec: Apoel Nicosia (h).Reuse content