Schalke vs Chelsea: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man & Predicted Score
Chelsea are in Germany to take on Schalke at the Veltins Arena in the Champions League. Here’s a preview with team news and likely line-ups for the game.
Chelsea are in Germany to take on Schalke at the Veltins Arena in what could prove to be a crucial night in their quest to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The Blues kicked-off their 2013/14 campaign with a shock 2-1 home defeat to FC Basel but bounced back with a comfortable victory over Steaua Bucharest to leave them sitting third in the table heading in to tonight’s fixtures.
Jose Mourinho knows the upcoming double-header with Schalke will be vital in determining how the Group E table will shape up and a win tonight would put the west Londoners back on course for reaching the knockout stages.
However, the German’s have a 100% record so far after beating both FC Basel and Bucharest, so they will put one foot in the next phase if they can claim victory this evening, and they have lost just two of their previous 13 home Champions League matches so will prove to be a tough test for Chelsea.
Chelsea will have to make do without the services of Ashley Cole after the defender was left back in London to nurse a rib injury. Ryan Bertrand will continue to deputise at left-back in his absence.
Andre Schurrle is back in contention after recovering from a muscle injury that kept him out of Saturday’s 4-1 win over Cardiff and he could start in his homeland for the first time since leaving in the summer.
Juan Mata may be the man to drop out after a disappointing display at the weekend while Oscar is also likely to be recalled after coming off the bench to get on the score-sheet at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho has already confirmed that John Terry will start so it’s between Gary Cahill and David Luiz for a spot next to the skipper. Luiz may find himself relegated to the bench after a howler last time out. Samuel Eto’o may retain his place up front after scoring his first Premier League goal against Cardiff, meaning Fernando Torres may have to make do with a place among the subs.
Schalke are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng after he missed Saturday’s 3-2 win at Eintracht Braunschweig with a knee problem, but he’s expected to be passed fit.
One man who’s certain to miss out is Marco Hoger who’s been ruled out for up to six months with a knee injury, so Jermaine Jones is likely to come in.
Striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is a long-term injury victim but Jefferson Farfan and Kyriakos Papadopoulos are back in the squad.
Eden Hazard: The Belgian was back to his best on Saturday, helping himself to a brace and we can see him being a key player in tonight’s game. For the opposition, young attacker Julian Draxler is the one to watch out for.
Schalke 1-2 Chelsea: Despite Schalke’s impressive home record, we can see the Blues edging this one with Jose Mourinho’s men back in confident mood.
What would be your preferred starting eleven and what’s your predicted score. Share your views below.