Chelsea vs Schalke 04 – Match preview and team news

Chelsea will be looking to carry their domestic form into their European campaign as Schalke 04 provide the opposition on match day one in Champions League Group F.

On paper at least, last season’s semi-finalists seem to have the kindest group stage draw of the four English clubs, with Sporting Lisbon and Maribor their other two opponents. The Blues know Schalke well, having come up against them at this stage last season and won 3-0 at home and away.

Thanks in a large part to Diego Costa’s incredible seven goals in four games since signing from Atletico Madrid, Chelsea top the Premier League with four wins out of four. The Spain striker claimed a hat-trick against Swansea City on Saturday, and after helping Atletico to the final last season, he will be aiming to go one better with his new club.

Eden Hazard was on top form against Swansea, and he again will provide the ammunition the Costa along with Oscar and Cesc Fabregas. The attacking play has been superb from Chelsea so far, but Jose Murinho will be slightly concerned with the defence, as they have already conceded six goals in the league this season.

Schalke have made a poor start in the Bundesliga, in contrast to Chelsea. Their only point from their first three games came in a home draw with champions Bayern Munich, while they were well beaten 4-1 by Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend. They still have quality in the team, however, provided by Julian Draxler, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Petr Cech could play in goal for Chelsea for the first time this season should Mourinho decide to rotate, while Didier Drogba returns to the fold following an ankle problem.

World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes misses out for Schalke, adding to an extensive injury list which also includes Felipe Santana.

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