Chelsea begins their Champions League campaign this season with a match against German heavyweights Schalke 04 in Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. The Blues are in scintillating form having won four out of their first four matches of the season, while the Germans on the other hand, are having their worst start ever to a Bundesliga season. Jans Keller’s side are without a win this season and were recently whitewashed 4-1 away at Borussia Monchengladbach. And With key players like Jefferson Farfan, Atsuto Uchida, Sead Kolasinac and Joel Matip all out injured, the German side are likely to have a torrid time against last year’s semi-finalist.
The Blues have no severe injury concerns and seem rearing to go, on the back of a 4-2 victory at the Liberty stadium over the weekend. With players like Costa, Fabregas, Ivanovic and Remy all in good form, another impressive performance from the London team seems inevitable.
Chelsea beat Schalke by 3 goal margins in both the home and away fixtures in the Champions League last season.
Chelsea’s record against Bundesliga opponents is P16 W9 D4 L4
Chelsea’s defeat by Basel last season was their first defeat on match day one in the Champions league.
Chelsea’s record against the Bundesliga outfit is impressive, as they have won 3 times and only drawn once versus the German side.
Schalke 04: LLDL
It is important that Chelsea get off to a good start against what is possibly their toughest opponent, in a group that includes Sporting Lisbon and Maribor. A win here means that Jose Mourinho’s team goes into their next English premiership match without the undue pressure of having lost a match; they should have won quite easily. A win on Wednesday puts the Blues in pole position to go into the latter matches of the group stages, confident of a first place finish, which will enable the manager, try out new players and new formations in preparation for the knockout stages. Another advantage will be the possibility of getting a 2nd placed team from a different group as a second round opponent.
In light of the Blues’ very encouraging campaign in the Premier League, the Portuguese tactician will also be looking to rest a few key players for this fixture in anticipation of their heavy weight clash with last season’s English Premier League Champions, Manchester City. With players such as Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic forming the basis of the London side’s consistently positive form, Mourinho will not want to risk any of his untouchables picking up an injury that will side line them for trips to important league matches like Sunday’s clash with City, and also subsequent meetings with Aston Villa and Arsenal.
Wednesday’s clash may see players like Willian, Salah, Remy, Drogba and the left back Filipe Luis being given a chance to show what they can offer Chelsea this season.
Possible line ups:
Chelsea: Courtios, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic, Luis, Mikel, Matic, Willian, Salah, Hazard, Drogba
Shalke 04: Fahrmann, Clemems, Ayan, Howedes, Aogo, Neustader, Boateng, Draxler, Huntelaar, Sam, Choupo-Moting
Despite a good chance of rotational changes in the Chelsea team, we tip the Blues to still run out winners, in what promises to be an epic Champions League clash.