MX23RW : Friday, February 15 19:44:42

Preview: Chelsea vs. Schalke 04

Sports Mole looks ahead to Chelsea's Champions League group opener against German club Schalke 04 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Throughout the whole of last season, Jose Mourinho was adamant that his Chelsea squad was not good enough to win either the Premier League or Champions League. Ultimately, the Portuguese coach was proven to be correct.

This time around, though, the 51-year-old will not be as negative with his outlook. Summer signing Diego Costa has started the new campaign in positive form in front of goal, while another new addition, Cesc Fabregas, has been at his unselfish best.

It means that Chelsea are the big favourites to advance through to the knockout stages as the winners of Group G, with Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 providing the first opposition at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.

With his team currently on a winning run, it is unlikely that Mourinho will be looking to make many alterations. However, captain John Terry may be rested with the weekend's trip to Manchester City in mind, while Costa may also be left out for a similar reason. If the Spanish centre-forward is omitted, Loic Remy is likely to come into the side.

In contrast to Mourinho, Schalke boss Jens Keller has a number of his players ruled out through injury. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Julian Draxler are expected to feature, but the likes of Fabian Giefer, Sead Kolasinac, Felipe Santana, Leon Goretzka and Jefferson Farfan will all miss out.

These two sides have met on four previous occasions in the Champions League, with Chelsea winning three times and the other match being drawn. During those clashes, Schalke are yet to score a goal. Also, no German club has ever left Stamford Bridge with a victory.

Recent form

Chelsea: WWWW

Schalke: LLDL

Possible starting lineups

Chelsea: Courtois; Luis, Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Oscar, Hazard, Willian; Remy

Schalke: Fahrmann; Aogo, Howedes, Matip, Ayhan; Fuchs, Neustadter; Draxler, Sam, Boateng; Huntelaar

Sports Mole says: 2-0

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A dejected Jose Mourinho the Chelsea manager applauds the travelling fans following his team's 1-0 defeat during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on March 29, 2014
Read Next:
Champions League 2014-15: Group G preview
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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