bundesliga.com previews what is set to be a pivotal Group G encounter at the Estadio Jose Alvalade...
Victory for Schalke, combined with a win for Chelsea FC against NK Maribor, will see the Gelsenkirchen club finish at least second in Group G. A draw would also keep them on course, but needing points at home to Chelsea and away to Maribor on Matchdays 5 and 6 could make life uncomfortable.
The Royal Blues' most immediate absentee is Germany winger Julian Draxler, who will miss the rest of the calendar year after undergoing surgery on a groin injury. He joins Jefferson Farfan, Felipe Santana, Sead Kolasinac and Leon Goretzka on the injury list, while Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam are doubtful.
The hosts have the luxury of a clean bill of health, meaning a likely start for Adrien Silva and Nani, goalscorers at the Veltins Arena a fortnight ago. Their only absentee is defender Mauricio, who misses out with suspension following his two bookings against Schalke on Matchday 3.
So often Schalke's talisman, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been a guarantee for goals in Europe this season. He has netted in all three group games to take his total in the competition to an impressive 14 in 29 appearances and if he performs, the club will likely be celebrating the prospect of Champions League football in the New Year.
Nani has experienced an upturn in form since joining Sporting on loan from Manchester United FC in August. He has been amongst the goals of late domestically and has two in three games in the Champions League. An international veteran with over 80 caps for Portugal, his experience and nous at this level could be a worry for Roberto Di Matteo's charges.
Ralf Fährmann: "I'm expecting an electric atmosphere, but we can't let that unsettle us. Our primary focus has to be staying tight at the back, and up front we have the quality to score at least once."
Atsuto Uchida: "The performance against Augsburg wasn't our best but we got the points, and that momentum is what we'll take into the game."
Schalke have stabilised somewhat since the arrival of Di Matteo as coach on 7 October and returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga with a solid if unconvincing 1-0 win against FC Augsburg on Matchday 10. Sporting, meanwhile, lost in the Primeira Liga for the first time at the weekend, slipping to a 3-0 reverse against Rio Ave.
Matchday 3's 4-3 win for Schalke was the first time that the two sides met in European competition. The Knappen may also take heart from Sporting's woeful record against German sides in competitive games: The Lisbon outfit have lost 13 and won just one of their 19 matches against German opposition.
Sporting: Rui Patricio - Cedric, Paulo Oliveira, Sarr, Silva - Joao Mario, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva - Nani, Slimani, Carrillo
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Höwedes, Neustädter, Aogo - Höger, Kirchhoff - Obasi, K.-P. Boateng, Choupo-Moting - Huntelaar