DUESSELDORF, October 21 – Jose Mourinho has said Chelsea face a real test in their Champions League match with unbeaten group leaders Schalke 04 on Tuesday in the first of a double header which should decide the Group E winners.
Chelsea arrive in Germany second in the table three points behind Schalke after bouncing back from their shock opening 2-1 defeat at home to FC Basel by trouncing Steaua Bucharest 4-0 in Romania three weeks ago.
Having beaten Steaua 3-0 at home and Basel 1-0 away, Schalke face the biggest test of their credentials at the Veltins Arena on Tuesday, ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge on November 6.
“We lost the first match at home, but won the second away, we now play two matches against the strongest team in the group,” said Mourinho as his team arrived at Duesseldorf airport on Monday.
Schalke are without Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has a knee injury, and Peru forward Jefferson Farfan, who has hamstring problems, while England left-back Ashley Cole is out with a rib injury.
“They are missing a couple of players but so are we, Ashley Cole is an important player and isn’t playing,” said Mourinho.
“John Terry will play, but I need to make a decision between David Luiz and Gary Cahill (at centre-back).”
Fifth-placed Schalke laboured to a 3-2 win away at Bundesliga bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday, but Chelsea know the Royal Blues — who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2011 — are a different proposition at home.
“We know about them. They pose a real threat. They look solid defensively. We understand it’s a tough game,” said Terry.
Chelsea are second in the Premier League, just two points behind Arsenal after their 4-1 win over Cardiff City in London on Saturday with Eden Hazard scoring twice while Samuel Eto’o and Oscar also got on the scoresheet.
Mourinho must choose between Fernando Torres, who is back in contention after a knee injury, Eto’o or Demba Ba up front for the Blues.
“Samuel Eto’o needs time, he’s played in Italy and Spain which are very different, but his game against Cardiff was very good,” said Mourinho.