Chelsea FC missed the chance to book their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League but maintained a four-point cushion to third-place FC Schalke 04 with a draw at the Arena AufSchalke.
Heiko Westermann brought two fine saves from Petr Čech in a first half the German side dominated, although Didier Drogba also called home goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into action twice. Rafinha and Peter Løvenkrands came closest to breaking the deadlock after the break when their respective shots cannoned back off the crossbar and post for Schalke, who moved above Valencia CF in Group B with their point.
The omens were not good for the home side with a spate of injuries, including influential strikers Kevin Kuranyi and Halil Altıntop, leaving them only able to name five substitutes. Even so, Schalke began brightly with Ivan Rakitić firing over a free-kick after Gerald Asamoah had been fouled 20 metres from goal by Alex. Chelsea responded by creating an excellent chance in the sixth minute when Marcelo Bordon gave away possession cheaply but Drogba's low drive was well tipped wide by Manuel Neuer after Joe Cole had put the striker through.
Čech's first action of the game came after 18 minutes when he comfortably gathered a low effort from Mesut Özil and moments later he was forced to tip a bouncing drive from Westermann wide. From the resulting corner, Søren Larsen bundled a shot into the side-netting at the far post with Čech struggling to get across his goal. Westermann brought another good save from the Chelsea stopper after an identical run and shot before Bordon headed Rakitić's corner over from close range.
On 27 minutes an inspired Schalke came even closer when Özil's corner was dropped by Čech under pressure only for Juliano Belletti to bail out his goalkeeper with a goalline clearance from Westermann. Chelsea stood firm in the face of the onslaught and nearly took a lead into the interval when Cole slipped in Drogba on 41 minutes only for Neuer to deny the striker with his chest.
Schalke began the second half on the offensive and carved out another good chance on the counterattack. Rakitić found Özil who bustled past Belletti and swept in a shot from the edge of the area which was saved by Carlo Cudicini, a half-time replacement for Čech. The Italian goalkeeper was called into action again on 58 minutes when he parried Rakitić's low drive after a short corner routine involving Asamoah.
Schalke come close
Schalke coach Mirko Slomka was forced into a change with Løvenkrands replacing Özil while Chelsea introduced John Obi Mikel for Belletti as they tried to instigate a change of fortune. The visitors then had a sustained spell of possession, but with the game beginning to drift Schalke suddenly rattled the crossbar when Rafinha's chip deceived Cudicini and Essien was on hand to thwart Løvenkrands' follow-up. With 90 minutes almost up, Løvenkrands beat Cudicini from a narrow angle only for the post to deny the home side victory.