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Chelsea vs. Schalke 04, Champions League: Team news, TV & streaming information, preview

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Mike Hewitt

Hello, Champions League, our old friend.  We've come to talk to you again.

Because a vision, softly creeping, left its seeds while we were sleeping.  And the vision that was planted in our brains, still remains.  Within the sound... of DROGBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA...

So, another journey begins tonight as Chelsea hope to do one better than last year's semifinals.  Drawn into a group that looks incredibly straightforward on paper, expectations of reaching the knockout stages are surely the absolute minimum.

Up first will be a familiar foe, Schalke 04.

Date / Time: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)

Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6

Referee: Bit of a strange/incompetent situation here with the misplaced passports.  We've not had the pleasure of working with the 37-year-old Bebek before -- assuming we get the replacement refs.  It's probably better this way just in terms of omens, since the only time we've met the previously scheduled 41-year-old Mažić was in last year's 3-1 loss in Paris in the quarterfinals.

Forecast: A bright sunshiny day followed by a nice, almost clear night.  Wait, what season is it again?

On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); FOX Sports 2 (USA); TEN Sports (India)

Online: Sky Go (UK); FOX Sports Go (USA); TEN Sports Live (India)

Chelsea Team News: Another Chelsea striker is supposedly carrying an injury right now, but the way these "injuries" have been going for us lately, it might just be nothing at all.  In any case, Didier Drogba may or may not be available.  This may be the ankle knock that was supposed to keep him out for like 6 months a few weeks ago, but it's hard to keep track of these phantom menaces.

Not that Drogba was likely to start or even play anyway.  The one thing that might influence Jose Mourinho's decision making as far as the starting lineup is concerned is the match coming up this weekend away to Manchester City, the biggest test we'll face in the Premier League all season.

Schalke 04 Team News: Polar opposites to Chelsea's essentially clean bill of health, Schalke are like the walking wounded.  Though walking may be overstating the dire situation in Gelsenkirchen.  UEFA list no less than nine (9!) injuries for Schalke, including captain Benedikt Höwedes, and several other first-choice players.  The eight others are: Jefferson Farfán (knee), Felipe Santana (groin), Fabian Giefer (groin), Leon Goretzka (hamstring), Jan Kirchhoff (knee), Sead Kolašinac (knee), Joël Matip (groin), Marcel Sobottka (thigh).  Max Meyer and Atsuto Uchida may or may not be injured as well.

Is it any wonder that Schalke have yet to win a game this season?  It's a bit of disaster over there after a third place finish last season.

That being said, they should not be underestimated -- though no opposition should ever be.  Julian Draxler, Sidney Sam, and Kevin-Prince Boateng are all capable of winning matches by themselves.

Previously: Schalke were drawn in our group last year, too, and we dispatched them with relative ease, winning 3-0 both home and away.  Even our strikers had good days, with Samuel Eto'o and Fernando Torres enjoying themselves home and away, respectively.  We met them twice before then as well, in the 2007/08 group stages, though they failed to score against us back then as well.  Overall, we have three wins and a scoreless draw against them.