Lille v CSKA Moscow preview

The sought-after Belgium international will get the chance to test

himself against Europe’s elite after he played a major role in

Lille’s breakthrough Ligue 1 success last term. Hazard enjoyed a

stellar campaign that drew the interest of bigger clubs around

Europe, with Lille reportedly turning down a number of bids for the

20-year-old in the summer. After beginning the new season strongly

as well – Hazard scored twice in the 3-1 weekend win at St Etienne

– Hazard’s performances in the Champions League are likely to come

under close scrutiny. But, despite the big clubs apparently

circling, Hazard is content to focus on helping Lille in their

return to the Champions League for the first time in five years. “I

am happy to be playing in the Champions League because usually I

just watch it on TV,” he told France Football. “I am feeling very

good so far this season. Hopefully this can continue in the

Champions League.” Lille reached the knockout stages last time they

were in the Champions League and are likely to challenge CSKA for a

qualification place in Group B, which Inter Milan are expected to

win. With Turkish side Trabzonspor making up the group, tomorrow’s

match could prove vital and assistant coach Frederic Bompard

believes his side can start with a win. “I have watched CSKA’s past

three matches and I noted that they prefer to play a 4-4-2

formation,” he said. “They play with two defensive midfielders who

are both very good on the ball and look after possession. Elsewhere

they can be a little slow though. “They are a good team, a team

that is of course able to be beaten, but a good team.” CSKA flew

into northern France today without some of their key men, most

notably their captain and Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev as well

as Keisuke Honda. Both have been ruled out with long-term injuries

and in Akinfeev’s place CSKA will rely on young goalkeeper Sergey

Chepchugov, who was in goal for a 4-0 home defeat by Dinamo Moscow

at the weekend. Lille have defensive worries of their own with

Marko Basa (groin), Aurelien Chedjou (leg) and Franck Beria (ankle)

all doubtful.