Schalke vs Chelsea
Schalke won 3:2 away from home against Eintractht Braunschweig last Saturday in the previous Bundesliga round. As during almost whole season, they had many important absences, but still managed to get important victory having meaningless initiative during the most of the match. They were equalizing twice, finally getting a victory in first minute of injury time in quite an unexpected way.
With a bit of luck, Schalke continued their run of five consecutive matches without defeat, while they have three victories in a row now. Good form saw them climbing to fifth position and are now only a point away from the fourth position that leads to Champions League which is their objective for this season. Also, victory in Braunschweig improved their morale and the team could prepare themselves for this game calmly. With two victories in first two rounds of Champions League group, they are close to sealing the second phase ticket, but also in case of a victory tonight, they will be very close to finish as first in the group. New injury loss is defensive midfielder Hoger (7/2), while the hosts continue to be without attacking midfielder Farfan (6/1) for the third consecutive game, while long term absentee is their best striker Huntelaar (2/2). Central defender Papadopoulos, midfielders Obasi and Annan didn't even play this season and all three are recovered from injuries but highly unfit and also will not play. Offensive midfielder Boateng returned to training sessions and the home side hopes that he can play tonight.
Chelsea is coming into this game with a target to win it and take three points which would allow them to rise at the top of the standings in fifth group. Last Saturday evening they welcomes Cardiff and prevailed with easy 4:1 victory, which was their third consecutive victory while the team improved their form significantly in last month and are now undefeated in last six official matches.
Although visitors from Cardiff preceded at the beginning of the game, Chelsea players didn't panic and equalized with goal from Hazard in 33rd, while the final victory was earned in last twenty five minutes of the match when Eto'o, Oscar and Hazard once again sealed the three pointer. With improved form the team climbed up at the standings and are now second at the table with only two points less than first placed Arsenal, while the only problematic situation remains in the Champions League where the team wants to secure their second phase ticket as soon as possible after a disastrous start and defeat at home against Basel. Left back Cole (7/0) didn't travel to German due to injury, same as midfielder Ginkel (2/0). Midfielder Schurrle (7/0) recovered from injury, but is still not fully fit and is questionable for tonight's game. Finally, Oscar should be back in the starting lineup after coming from bench in a victory over Cardiff.
With the way Schalke plays, it's hard not to see most of their games ending with three or more goals scored. Chelsea, on the other hand, is coming determined to get the three pointer which should make the game quite open and give lot of chances for more than couple of goals to be scored.