sport

Lille v BATE Borisov preview

Lille forward Salomon Kalou believes there is no substitute for hard work as he prepares to face BATE Borisov in the Champions League.

Kalou was part of the Chelsea squad which won the tournament last season but joined Lille over the summer when he was not offered a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

The Ivory Coast international is now looking forward to another European campaign and is believes it is difficult to explain the facets required to win the tournament.

"A recipe to win the Champions League? It's complicated," he said.

"With Chelsea we decided to close the door (defensively) and build on the strength of our attackers. The goal is to get the first points - but just because we are not favorites (for the competition) does not mean we can't go far go far, working hard is the only way to win this tournament."

A victory on Wednesday night could be seen as essential for Rudi Garcia's side with tougher fixtures against Valencia and Bayern Munich to come.

Kalou is therefore targeting a winning start against the perennial Belarusian Premier League champions at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole, although he is not underestimating the opposition.

He said: "Tomorrow we will do everything to grab the three points. It is important to start the competition. Being the favorites does not mean anything.

"The Champions League is a competition in which all teams are equal. No fixture is ever easy."

Borisov have won their domestic title for the last six years and currently occupy top spot again with 20 matches already played.

They took two points during the group stages of last season's Champions League, including a memorable 1-1 draw at home to Italian giants AC Milan.

Viktor Goncharenko's side have already beaten Vardar of Macedonia, Hungarian outfit Debrecen and Israel's Ironi Kiryat Shmona just to qualify for the group stages this year.