Champions League exit against Barcelona still hurts, says Ballack

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Michael Ballack has stated that Chelsea's Champions League exit against Barcelona in 2009 is still one of the most painful defeats of his career.

The Premier League side appeared to be on their way to the final of the competition three years ago, until a late Andres Iniesta strike eventually eliminated Chelsea on away goals, much to the disappointment of Ballack.

"I’ve experienced a fair amount of downs alongside several ups throughout my career, but Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final defeat by Barcelona three years ago is among the most painful," Ballack stated in a column in The Times.

"Many of Chelsea’s players will feel exactly the same way, and will be out for revenge when the teams meet again in the semi-finals tomorrow [Wednesday].

"Sometimes I still can’t believe we lost that tie on away goals. We had a stronger team in 2009 than when we reached the final the year before, and I’m convinced that if we’d got through we would have won the competition."

Both sides meet again in the final four of the Champions League this term. The first leg of the tie takes place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and kicks off at 20.45CET.

Goal.com will be running a dedicated LIVE! on Tuesday and Wednesday from 16.00-00.00BST to keep you up to date with all the latest about the Champions League semi-finals, while also offering you the chance to discuss with our team of experts how a combined Bayern/Madrid XI could look like, and what Chelsea must do to shut out Lionel Messi and stop Barcelona.

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