Here's something I just realized in the last five minutes: this is a home game for us!
Could you imagine making plans to go to the game only to realize that you had entirely the wrong venue in mind? Get off the plane in Slovenia, no friendly faces around. Make your way to the stadium, get laughed at by all the random employees. Go to a bar, sit in the corner by yourself. Cry into your soup. So salty! Drink your beers. Less salty. Drink some more. Stumble out, fall into a ditch. Pass out. Get your passport stolen. Can't go home. Go live in a cave in the Alps. Grow old. Can't cut your beard. Get your feet tangled in your beard one day when climbing the side of the hill. Fall down into a ravine. Get eaten by the Yeti, as you wonder what the Yeti is doing in the Europe. All this time, we were looking for him the wrong place!
(Or, alternatively, if not quite so fatally, realizing you just wrote a preview for the wrong game...)
Moral of the story: know your Chelsea schedule.
Date/Time: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Danny Makkelie - from the Eredivisie. Another young referee (only 31), and another one making his Chelsea debut. As far as I can tell, this will also be his first ever match in the Champions League proper, having previously only taken charge of a few early round qualifying matches and some Europa League contests. He did referee the final of the Euro U19s in 2012 as well as the Dutch Super Cup at the start of this season.
Forecast: It's going to be a cool, windy, possibly rainy Tuesday night; winter is coming...
On TV: ITV 1 (UK); Fox Soccer 2 (USA); TEN Sports (India); elsewhere
Online: Fox Sports Go, FoxSoccer2Go (USA); TEN Sports Live (India)
Chelsea Team News: Four names were on Mourinho's injury list in Monday's press conference: Diego Costa, John Obi Mikel, Ramires, and Andre Schurrle. Costa's exact condition is a fairly large mystery, though the others aren't exactly free of concern either. Mikel is battling a toe injury that may not be that serious (he was held out on Saturday as a precaution despite apparently declaring himself fit). Ramires was expected back after the international break, but he hasn't quite managed that recovery just yet. Andre Schurrle's illness sounded minor at first, but he's now missed over a week with it as well (although he was involved in training in some capacity as well). In light of all that, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was called up from the youth team.
Mourinho promised only a little bit of rotation for this one, saying that he doesn't want to mess with success too much. Not having a full squad available probably will play into that decision as well. Regardless, we should still be more than good enough to take care of business, with perhaps half an eye kept on the congested schedule ahead.
NK Maribor Team News: Despite a recent drop in domestic form (only one win from four and just third in the league), the defending champions of Slovenia have exceeded most expectations already in their European campaign. They made it through three rounds of knockout qualifying just to make the groups (dispatching Celtic at the final hurdle), and have yet to lose in the group stage, earning draws against both Sporting and Schalke 04.
Their squad may be full of unfamiliar and strange names (one familiar one: a goalkeeper named Handanovic -- turns out he's the older cousin of Samir Handanovic!), but they seem to be fairly fluent in the universal language of fearless underdogs.
Previously: A Chelsea B-team (not Vitesse, but an actual reserves/youth team - including what looks like Van Aanholt, Stoch, Di Santo, etc.) once played a friendly against Maribor, though that was in Slovenia.