Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Schalke coach Mirko Slomka is convinced his side are a match for Chelsea, despite a lentgthening injury list and the fact that the Bundesliga outfit lie bottom of Group B at the halfway stage.
With Kevin Kuranyi tearing a thigh muscle in Friday’s 1-0 defeat at Energie Cottbus, Slomka then lost Gerald Asamoah (knee) and Fabian Ernst (flu) in Monday’s training session. Yet he still believes the game could go either way.
“Our chances are 50-50,” he said. “Although we have so many injuries and are playing against an extremely good team, I think it’s still the same. At Chelsea we had a few chances in the first half and at the beginning of the second.”
“The way we’re playing is not good enough but we’re being hurt by the injury situation,” said Slomka. “We’re going to miss Kuranyi. He is the player who scores goals, is strong in the air and inspires others. But we will not use injuries as an excuse for the players to hide behind, because they will be delighted to play in the Champions League against Chelsea – we fought the whole season for the privilege of savouring games like this, and we’ve still got a chance with two Champions League home games to turn things around.”
Chelsea have a number of injuries of their own, though this has done nothing to hinder their progress under recently-appointed coach Avram Grant.
Unbeaten in Group B, the London outit hold a three-point lead over Rosenborg, with Valencia and Schalke a point further back. They have also won their last four Premier League games without conceding a goal, despite John Terry, Ashley Cole, Paulo Ferreira and Michael Ballack all being sidelined.
“I’m very pleased with the progress and the results, but Tuesday is the Champions League. We are in a good position but want to qualify as soon as possible,” said Grant.
“All my life I have liked to create things, but I like to do it step-by-step,” added Grant. “In every aspect of the game we have improved. When you want to build a style of attacking football, it is much more difficult to build the defence. But we have done a good job at this stage of the season. To do so many positive things in a short time is a credit to everybody. But it is only the beginning of the process.”