Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
A victory away to Valencia three weeks ago has gone some way to erasing the memories of Chelsea’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Rosenborg on Matchday1, but the London club is aware that anythjing less than a victory over Schalke could impair their chances of reaching the knockout stages.
“After drawing the first game it was very important to win in Valencia,” said manager Avram Grant.
“Now we have another home game and we want to use it to take another three points. It’s never easy to change the coach during the season but step by step we are doing the right things. Up to now we have made a few steps but we want to do even more.”
Chelsea are without captain John Terry and fellow defender Ashley Cole who both picked up injuries while on England duty. Nonetheless a run of four victories has boosted confidence as they want to make amends the Rosenborg disappointment.
“I like to win but the way you win is also important,” added Grant. “I know you can not always play 90 minutes at your best but that is our goal, to play good football and win the game.”
Schalke are unbeaten away from home in the Bundesliga, where they sit fifth following a weekend draw at Hansa Rostock. Their hopes in Europe were boosted by the Matchday 2 victory over Rosenborg
“Against Rosenborg our old strengths and quality were evident and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be optimistic for this game,” said visiting coach Mirko Slomka. “Hopefully we can prepare a little surprise for Chelsea.”
Christian Pander misses out through injury though fellow defender Mladen Krstajic is back in contention.
Slomka denied that facing a Chelsea team no longer managed by Jose Mourinho, would be an advantage for his side.
“To ask that question must mean you think that Grant is not as good a manager as Mourinho but I can’t imagine that’s the case,” he said. “Look at their last game, the victory in Valencia was down to the team and the quality of the players in the team.”