After drawing their opening two European games this season, including one against Chelsea FC, the club Di Matteo led to glory in Munich two years ago, Schalke are in need of a Champions League boost at the Veltins Arena.
bundesliga.com looks ahead to S04's latest European assignment...
With two 1-1 draws from their opening two games, which included perhaps the trickiest tie of the campaign on paper at Chelsea, Di Matteo (pictured) and Schalke know how important it will be to pick up three points against Sporting to enable them to take a step towards the last 16. For Sporting, preventing them from doing that is vital if they want to stand any chance after one draw and one defeat.
Centre-back (pictured) is available again after being suspended for the win over Hertha Berlin at the weekend, but Di Matteo said he liked what he saw in his first game in charge, and may not make any changes. "We'll see after final training. Changes are possible, but not necessary," said the Italian tactician.
Head coach Marco Silva's squad has virtually a clean bill of health, with Mauricio (pictured) back in a 21-man travelling party, which also includes Heldon Ramos. Miguel Lopes, meanwhile, will be missing out as he is ineligible for the group phase, and Rami Rabia is absent with a stomach problem.
has scored four goals in his last five appearances for club and country and it looks like Schalke fans are again witnessing the best of the 2011/12 Bundesliga Torjägerkanone winner. The Dutchman, on target at the weekend in the win against Hertha Berlin, has three goals and three assists in the Bundesliga this season.
Livewire forward Nani won the Champions League with Manchester United FC in 2008 and can be a handful for any defence, particularly now that he has settled in Lisbon. "The main thing that has gone through my head is how happy I am to be here and to be close to people I like," said the 27-year-old Portuguese to Champions Magazine.
, Schalke skipper: "The win [against Hertha] was vitally important and now we want to build on it in the Champions League."
Marco Silva, Sporting coach: "Of course Huntelaar is an important player for them, but Schalke have lots of quality players and if we mentioned all of them we would still be here tomorrow morning."
The 1-1 draw with NK Maribor three weeks ago was possibly the prelude to Jens Keller's dismissal as Schalke coach, a 2-1 defeat to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim sealing his fate. Di Matteo (pictured) won his first game in charge at the weekend to lift the club's spirits. Sporting are unbeaten in eight games domestically and ended FC Porto's 11-game unbeaten run in the cup at the weekend.
Schalke have never met Sporting, but they do have a strong record against Portuguese opponents with five wins, two draws and just the one defeat to FC Porto in 2008. Sporting will have hardly enjoyed their previous games against German opposition with just one win and 12 defeats from 18 encounters.
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Ayhan, Höwedes, Aogo - Neustädter, Höger - Choupo-Moting, K-P Boateng, Draxler - Huntelaar
Sporting: Rui Patricio - Cedric, Paulo Oliveira, Mauricio, Silva - William Carvalho, Adrien Silva - Nani, Joao Mario, Carrillo - Slimani