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Schwarzer, Holland, Kruse, Langerak, Rogic get set for Champions League opening week

Five Australians are preparing for the first week of the UEFA Champions League group stage proper this week.

Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, his understudy at Borussia Dortmund, Mitch Langerak, Austria Vienna midfielder James Holland and Bayer Leverkusen winger Robbie Kruse could all be involved when matches get underway on Tuesday night European time (Wed morn AEST).

Veteran gloveman Schwarzer will take second billing to Chelsea's number one Petr Cech as they host FC Basel on Wednesday night whilst Langerak is likely to play a similar role behind Roman Weidenfeller when Dortmund head to Napoli.

Holland is almost a certain starter in his defensive midfield niche as his Austrian champions host Portuguese giants FC Porto while Kruse could make a late cameo against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Holland felt the fact that four players under the age of 25 were competing in Europe's premier club competition suggested that football in Australia was still on the improve.

"It says a bit about the future of Australian football," he said.

"There have been lots of question marks in the media about the Socceroos. But we've got four players, all 25 or under, playing for teams in what's commonly accepted to be the top club competition in the world."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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