The Royal Blues currently sit top of Group E with maximum points from their opening two games, but preparation for their third tie of the campaign has been far from ideal. Star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been ruled out until the New Year, while midfielder Marco Höger suffered a partial tear of the cruciate ligament in his right knee against Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday and will miss the remainder of the season.
'We have to get on with it'
With Jefferson Farfan and Kyriakos Papadopoulos yet to regain full fitness, head coach Jens Keller goes into Tuesday's encounter with several key players missing. "Our injury situation isn't exactly ideal, but we have to accept the situation and mustn't complain," said the 42-year-old. "We have already shown what we are capable of with this group of players. Every player on the pitch will do his very best."
Not that it's all bad news for Schalke: Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jermaine Jones and Timo Hildebrand have all been declared fit for the match after missing the last-gasp win over Braunschweig in the Bundesliga. "In Boateng, Jones and Hildebrand, we also have great quality coming back into the squad," added Keller. "We're going into the game with the belief that we can win."
Youngsters set to start
Keller is is likely to keep faith with some of the younger members of his squad against the 2011/12 Champions League winners. Julian Draxler is set to keep his place in the side, while 18-year-olds Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka both boosted their hopes of a place in Tuesday's starting line-up with a goal each against Braunschweig at the weekend.
"Goretzka's development has been very positive," said the head coach. "He has made a number of appearances for us already this season. Playing in the Champions League is different to playing in the Bundesliga, but he has played a number of times for us and I have no issues with starting him tomorrow." Playmaker Draxler has been just as impressed with Meyer's development so far this season: “He's exploded onto the scene for us in recent games, which is very good for us," said the 20-year-old.
Draxler also revealed he has spoken to Germany team mate Andre Schürrle ahead of the match with the Premier League giants. The former Bayer 04 Leverkusen forward, who helped Germany seal their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with four goals in two games against Ireland and Sweden, returns to Germany with his new club for the first time since his summer move to London.
"We spoke about English football when we were on international duty together," said Draxler. "There certainly won't be any surprises on Tuesday! We're just looking forward to the biggest game of our Champions League campaign so far. Every player on that pitch will be highly motivated."
Schalke: Hildebrand – Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Aogo – Neustädter, Goretzka – Boateng, Meyer, Draxler - Szalai
Chelsea: Cech – Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand – Ramires, David Luiz – Schürrle, Oscar, Hazard – Torres
Find out what Atsuto Uchida had to say ahead of the match with Chelsea, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: