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Can Chelsea's Hiddink pull another surprise?
by Paul Kennedy, May 6th, 2009 7AM



[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Dutchman Guus Hiddink's reputation as a miracle worker preceded his arrival at Chelsea as interim manager in February, but he will have pulled off one of his greatest coups if the Blues can knock off Barcelona Wednesday at Stamford Bridge (TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, live, 2:30 pm ET).

Hiddink, who is best known for having led South Korea to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup, constructed a scheme that allowed Chelsea hold high-scoring Barca to a 0-0 tie in last week's first leg.

It won't be as easy for Chelsea to spend the whole game Wednesday defending like it did at the Camp Nou. Indeed, its best chance could be going right at Barcelona, which will be without captain Carles Puyol, who is suspended, and the injured Rafael Marquez in the middle of the backline.

Hiddink left open the possibility that he could team Nicolas Anelka up front with targetman Didier Drogba.

"I like to have a flexible team," the Dutchman said. "I don't want them surprised with two strikers playing together.

Barcelona is coming off a 6-2 win over Real Madrid in Madrid on Saturday but may be without one of the stars of its win, Thierry Henry. The Frenchman scored twice against Real Madrid, but his availability for Wednesday's game is in doubt because of a knee injury he suffered on Saturday.

Probable Lineups:
Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 2-Branislav Ivanovic, 26-John Terry, 33-Alex, 3-Ashley Cole, 15-Michael Essien, 12-John Obi Mikel; 13-Michael Ballack, 8-Frank Lampard, 15-Florent Malouda; 11-Didier Drogba.
Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 20-Daniel Alves, 3-Gerard Pique, 2-Martin Caceres, 22-Eric Abidal; 6-Xavi, 24-Yaya Toure, 8-Andres Iniesta; 10-Lionel Messi, 9-Samuel Eto'o, 14-Thierry Henry.
Referee: Tom Henning (Norway).


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