Fernando Torres opened the scoring inside five minutes, and despite responding positively, the Royal Blues' inexperience told, as Torres bagged a brace before freeing up Eden Hazard in the closing stages to round out the scoring, completing a disappointing evening for Schalke.
The hosts, who hadn’t beaten an English side at the Veltins Arena for almost twelve years, were immediately put under pressure when Chelsea took a fifth-minute lead through Torres’ back-post header. The Spaniard found himself unmarked as the Royal-Blues complacency allowed Chelsea's lone striker to nod home past Timo Hildebrand.
The visitors’ early chances misrepresented Schalke’s control of possession, but a glaring inability to turn their ball retention into chances became more evident as the half wore on. Kevin-Prince Boateng cut an isolated figure up front as the youthful trio behind him struggled against the experience of Lampard and Ramires. Eventually, however, after 39 minutes, the Royal-Blues burst into life.
Half-time at the wrong time
A Dennis Aogo cross was flapped at by Petr Cech, who redeemed himself seconds later by palming away Boateng's rasping shot from 25 yards. Chelsea's custodian endured a busy end to the half, repelling Roman Neustädter's header in acrobatic fashion, before Benedikt Höwedes’ backheeled effort made its way past the post to bring first-half proceedings to a close at just the wrong time for the Gelsenkirchen outfit.
Chelsea, clearly reminded of their goal advantage by manager Jose Mourinho at half-time, came out and attempted to snuff out any chance of a Schalke fightback. Torres, who seemed eager to added to his earlier strike having previously registered just once on the scoresheet this season, hit the bar with a powerful glancing header from a Lampard free-kick. Thereafter, Chelsea, in control, began to allow Schalke possession in front of their defensive line.
Visitors run away with it
However, the hosts were reduced to shots from distance, and low crosses, one such Aogo centre being parried by Cech, while the Chelsea centre-backs were outmuscling their Schalke counterparts with ease. Höwedes, the Schalke captain was singlehandedly trying to bring his side back into the contest, but after powering a header wide, could do nothing to prevent Torres’ second goal on the break in the 68th minute.
Oscar's run drew Joel Matip into a mistimed tackle, and the Brazilian burst forward, head down but always aware, eventually squaring to Torres who rounded Hildebrand for his second of the night. Schalke coach Jens Keller rang the changes in order to make a late assault on Chelsea’s lead, but the hosts’ efforts were in vain, as Torres' dummy run opened up the space for Hazard, who put the seal on a professional display to move the Londoners level on points with Schalke at the top of Group E.
Schalke: Hildebrand - Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Aogo - Neustädter, Jones (Kolasinac, 71') - Clemens, Meyer (Goretzka, 78'), Draxler - Boateng (Szalai, 71')
Chelsea: Cech - Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta - Ramires, Oscar (Luiz, 84'), Lampard - Schürrle (Mikel, 72'), Hazard (Eto'o, 89') - Torres
Goals: 1-0, Torres (5'), 2-0, Torres (69'), 3-0, Hazard (87')
Next up for Schalke is the derby against Borussia Dortmund. An insight into one of the Bundesliga's biggest clashes can be found on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: