Basel - As much as FC Schalke 04 have fluctuated domestically this season, Jens Keller's men have been ice-cold so far in the UEFA Champions League.

A wonder strike from Wunderkind Julian Draxler away to FC Basel 1893 on Tuesday night proved that beyond any doubt and ensures the Royal Blues, with two wins from two, remain very much the team to beat in Group E.

"A bit lucky"


"The ball fell rather kindly for me," recalled Draxler after the 1-0 win at St. Jakob Park. "There was a bit of a muddle after the corner and no one picked me up. You probably hit three out of ten balls like that in training. This time it came off. Of course it was a bit lucky, but it's the small things that decide games in the Champions League."

To discount Draxler's post-match evaluation would be unfair, but there is no denying the quality of the goal in question. The strike itself was as clean as they come and even earned the 20-year-old the UEFA Man of the Match accolade - not that such recognition could ever temper Schalke's self-deprecating young star, who left Switzerland feeling he can "definitely do better".

"We played really well"


That in itself is enough to send shivers down the collective spines of Group E rivals Basel, Steaua Bucuresti and Chelsea FC. The Royal Blues have already had their way with two of them and will go into their double-header against the 2012 Champions League victors as the only side in the group boasting a 100 per cent winning start to the European campaign.

"It's fantastic we won and now lead the group on six points," said head coach Jens Keller. "It wasn't that Basel played badly; rather we played really well. The team worked very hard together. They put pressure on us in the second half, but we knew that would happen. Still, we dealt with it all, we defended well, didn't give much away in the wide positions and the forwards put in a shift at the back, too."

"Long way to go"


So it seems everything is beginning to click for Keller's young side, who must now figure out how to translate their fine European form into success closer to home, starting with FC Augsburg on Saturday, before returning their focus to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.

"It's great to be top of the group with two wins and no goals against," concluded Draxler, "but we shouldn't read too much into it. There's still a long way to go. In Chelsea, we've got to play possibly one of the strongest teams in the competition - twice." All the signs, however, suggest Schalke should have nothing to fear.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge