The England defender was hurt by Chelsea’s semi-final elimination last season and says Jose Mourinho’s men are “dangerous” and more experienced this term.
Cahill also thinks the Blues, who tomorrow face Hull in their first Premier League contest since their 23-match unbeaten streak came to an end, can build momentum after responding from the loss at Newcastle by beating Sporting Lisbon 3-1 on Wednesday night.
“We’re a good team,” Cahill said. “We’re certainly playing well.
“That unbeaten run that lasted so long, where we are in the league this season and how we’re playing — I’m sure people will have taken a lot of notice of that.
“We’re dangerous. I’m sure teams won’t want to come up against us.
“But there are loads of dangerous teams going into the next round.”
Chelsea are bidding for a second Champions League title in four years in Berlin in June after their 2012 success in Munich.
The Blues, who were beaten by eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid last term, on Monday could be drawn against Juventus, Basle, Bayer Leverkusen, Paris St Germain or Shakhtar Donestsk in the first knockout round, which takes place in February.
“It was crazy when I first came then after six months we ended up winning (the 2012 European Cup),” added Cahill, who signed from Bolton in January 2012.
“On the flip side the year before last (2013) we went out with 10 points.
“Last year we were so close. It hurt us a lot to go out in the semi-final. I feel that we’re going stronger this season so let’s see.”
First, Chelsea return to domestic duty, against Hull, before meeting Derby in the Capital One Cup quarter-final and then the busy festive programme begins in earnest.
The Blues enter this weekend’s fixtures three points clear of defending champions Manchester City, but questions concerning whether they could emulate Arsenal’s unbeaten season of 10 years ago are now behind them.
“After the result at the weekend it was important to get that feeling of winning again,” Cahill added.
Meanwhile, Andre Schurrle has dismissed suggestions he could leave Chelsea next month.
The 24-year-old has been a peripheral figure this season, starting for the first time in five weeks against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.
The Germany international’s lack of game time led to suggestions Jose Mourinho has lost patience with him, but Schurrle insists he is going nowhere during the January transfer window.
“I can just laugh all the talk of leaving off. I am not going to change the club in the transfer window,” Schurrle told the Evening Standard.
“I am happy where I am, I am happy in London. I love the city, I love the fans. We have a great team and want to win something this season. This is where I belong and where I want to help. I know what the manager wants for me and that he likes me.”
Schurrle, who signed from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2013, attributed his impact to illness.
He said: “The illness has lasted weeks and weeks. Even during the World Cup my body didn’t feel that good.
“I don’t want to say what the medical name for the illness was but the symptoms are hard to get over. While they may have gone away, it took a toll on my body and it takes lot of time to get back to match fitness.
“I’m not where I want to be but I feel better.”