MATCH REPORT: HAMBURG 2 CHELSEA 1
A late goal consigned Chelsea to defeat in our final pre-season friendly at Hamburg on Wednesday evening.
Substitute Heung Min Son's strike with three minutes to go and Mladen Petric's equaliser cancelled out Frank Lampard's early opener in the Imtech Arena, as we suffered a third successive loss of the summer, following earlier defeats to Ajax and Eintracht Frankfurt.
It wasn't all bad news though as Didier Drogba came through his first 45 minutes of the pre-season calendar, promising news ahead of Sunday's Community Shield date with Manchester United on Sunday.
As promised, Carlo Ancelotti selected a strong side, and the one he anticipates starting in the weekend's Wembley curtain-raiser.
That suggests Ross Turnbull may get the nod in goal after his 90 minutes in Germany, while Branislav Ivanovic paired up with John Terry in the centre of defence with Paulo Ferreira at right-back, though the Serb was withdrawn with a facial injury in the second half.
Hamburg included in their line-up Ruud van Nistelrooy, the former Manchester United striker, and Guy Demel, an international team-mate of Drogba and Kalou.
The first opportunity of the game was Lampard's four minutes in, the midfielder allowed space in the area to shoot but unable to beat veteran goalkeeper Frank Rost despite a deflection.
Turnbull received an early test too as Croatian Mladen Petric stung his palms with a powerful drive from range.
Anelka went close from distance before Rost fumbled a low Lampard free-kick and Kalou headed a whipped Malouda cross into the ground and over as Chelsea slowly gained the upper hand, but it took an error from the home side to gift us the lead.
A misunderstanding saw Jonathan Pitroipa touch the ball into Michael Essien's path, and one-on-one with the goalkeeper, the Ghanaian unselfishly squared for Lampard to tap into the empty net.
The hosts responded well to the setback, and Paolo Guerrero almost levelled within two minutes but shot over, and then Van Nistelrooy was crowded out by Terry inside the area, though the Dutchman did force a corner from which Heiko Westermann headed against the crossbar.
Despite this Hamburg rally, the Blues went in at the break a goal to the good, and were boosted further at the start of the second half with the introduction of Drogba, on for his first taste of pre-season football this summer following hernia surgery.
The forward played almost created a second Chelsea goal when he slipped Anelka through, but the Frenchman shot too straight at Rost, who saved with his legs.
Anelka then had the ball in the net but had it wrongly disallowed for offside, before Ivanovic was replaced by Ricardo Carvalho after taking a knock to the face.
Van Nistelrooy had his best opportunity shortly afterwards when Pitroipa pulled back from the bye-line, but he shot miles over.
Drogba too looked a little off his best in front of goal, letting a loose touch deny him a goal after Essien had slotted him through.
Both sides were now making regular changes which broke up the flow a little, though Petric had a golden opportunity to level matters when a flicked corner came his way, but he diverted the ball the wrong side of the post from six yards.
He made amends shortly afterwards when another defensive error, this time from Yury Zhirkov, gifted Hamburg a goal.
The Russian, on at left-back for Cole, sent an all too casual chipped backpass towards his own goal, and with Terry out of the game, Petric had a straight race with Turnbull for the ball, just getting there first and clipping it over the oncoming goalkeeper and into the net.
Essien might have restored the lead with a header but he got under Malouda's corner and sent it too high, and then things got worse as sub Heung Min Son wriggled free of Carvalho inside the box to calmly slot under Turnbull and give his side the victory.
Hamburg (4-4-2): Rost; Diekmeier (Benjamin h-t), Demel (Rincon 55), Westermann (c), Ze Roberto; Petric (Choupo-Moting 81), Jarolim, Tesche (Kacar h-t), Pitroipa (Elia 67); Guerrero (Castelen 67), Van Nistelrooy (Son 81).
Goals: Petric 71, Son 86
Chelsea (4-3-3): Turnbull, Ferreira (Bruma 67), Ivanovic (Carvalho 53), Terry (c), Cole (Zhirkov 61); Essien, Mikel, Lampard (Benayoun 61); Kalou (Drogba h-t), Anelka (Kakuta 67), Malouda.
Goals: Lampard 23
Booked: Terry 41