Birmingham City first- team coach Eric Black will be in the stands at Stamford Bridge tonight to watch Chelsea take on Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions' League quarter-final.

However, Black is acutely aware that his scouting trip to west London may prove a futile exercise as Birmingham's match at Chelsea in the Premiership on Saturday is only three days before the second leg.

Black fears it will be almost impossible to predict what team Chelsea will field at the weekend, but his trip to Stamford Bridge illustrates why Blues are prepared to do anything which might improve their chances against the Premiership champions elect.

The fixture list could work in Birmingham's favour if Jose Mourinho rests some of his star performers ahead of the return leg in Germany.

But with Chelsea 13 points clear in the Premiership and full of confidence, Black knows the visitors are expected to lose regardless of what team Mourinho fields.

"Last time we were down there they put Mateja Kezman, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole on as subs," said Black, referring to Birmingham's 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge in January.

"They have such a huge squad you can never be sure what to expect and they certainly have some exceptional players playing at the height of their game.

"They haven't lost at home yet this season but at some point they are going to lose. The challenge for us is to try to be that team to beat them.

"The way they are playing at the moment it is going to take a big turnaround for them not to win the title but I am personally looking forward to it."

Black could catch up with Mikael Forssell tonight - he will be on the bench for Chelsea - after the Finn's knee injury ended his loan spell at Blues earlier this season.

While Forssell, who scored 17 goals for Birmingham last season, could yet return next term, Birmingham's immediate priority is ending this campaign on a high.

Last year Blues failed to win any of their final eight matches and, with seven remaining, Black is anxious to avoid any repeat of that statistic following last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

Black said: "We have been inconsistent and had a difficult season with all our injuries. First and foremost we still need another couple of points to be safe from relegation but it would be great if we can pick up a few points and move up the table.

"We want to at least equal last season's tenthplace finish and show in our remaining games that we are progressing and can push on - it will give everyone anticipation for next season."

Birmingham's match at Chelsea will hand Jermaine Pennant a second appearance following his release from prison last month after serving onethird of a three-month sentence for drink-driving offences.

Pennant was thrust straight back into Blues' starting line-up against Spurs - 48 hours after his release - and Black has praised both the 21-yearold and the bold decision of manager Steve Bruce to select him.

Black said: "Jermaine's dealt with it exceptionally well. It is as though he hasn't been away.

"I think it was a great decision to put him back into the team immediately, it got it over and done with so he can concentrate on playing again."