UEFA Champions League Group E. Kick off: Tuesday 7.45pm. Live on Sky Sports 2.
This match represents one leg of a Germany v England double on Tuesday night and whilst German football’s stock has never been higher Chelsea are the favourites to pick up all three points in Gelsenkirchen.
Schalke have some serious injury problems ahead of the visit of Chelsea. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is out until the New Year, Kevin-Prince Boateng is major doubt and could join Jermaine Jones, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Marco Hoger and Sead Kolasinac on the sidelines. So bad is the injury crisis that 35-year-old striker Gerald Asamoah has been summoned from the reserves to train with the first-team squad.
Currently 5th in the Bundesliga Schalke made an indifferent start to the season but have hit a bit of form of late. They came from behind twice at the weekend against bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig to secure a 3-2 win and extend their unbeaten run to 5 games.
Chelsea have also got into their stride recently. Jose Mourinho’s return got off to an inauspicious start, especially in the Champions League where they we’re shocked at home by underdogs FC Basel on Matchday 1. But since then they’ve gone on a 6 game unbeaten run (W5 D1 L0) that has seen them get back in contention in Group E, progress in the Capital One Cup and rise to second place in the Premier League.
If you want to read further into those results you could say that they’ve not beaten much in those six games (Norwich 18th, Fulham 17th & Cardiff 16th, as well as Swindon from League One and Steaua) but as they say you can only beat the teams in front of you.
Fewer teams in the Champions League have as much experience both on the pitch and in the dug-out in this competition and I can’t see Chelsea leaving Germany without something from this game. 6/4 (William Hill) for the win looks promising but I’d prefer to have the comfort of the draw on my side too. Remember Mourinho has taken his side to White Hart Lane and Old Trafford and been content to leave with a share of the spoils so don’t discount the fact he’d take a point from this one. Backing Chelsea on the Draw No Bet market at 8/11 (Coral, SkyBet) makes more sense.
If you’ve an eye for larger odds then consider Brazilian Oscar to get himself on the scoresheet. Schalke have shipped 19 goals in just 9 matches in the Bundesliga – an average of over 3 per game so I expect there to be goals for Chelsea if they want them. Oscar has been a mainstay of Mourinho’s midfield this season so is almost certain to start. He’s weighed in with 5 goals already and is the Blues top scorer. He looks a tasty price at 11/1 with Bet365 to score first and an each-way bet will get you 1/3 odds if he score one of the first 5 goals.
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Oscar to score first e/w 11/1 (Bet365)