Chelsea FC could seal their passage to the knockout rounds with only a second victory in Germany but FC Schalke 04 still have everything to play for.
They might be trailing the other three teams in Group B, but FC Schalke 04 still have everything to play for as they welcome Chelsea FC to the Arena AufSchalke with a single point separating them from second position. For the visitors, victory will assure them of a place in the knockout rounds if the result in the night's other group fixture goes their way.
• With Chelsea rediscovering their winning form under new coach Avram Grant, the challenge for Schalke in London two weeks ago was already fraught with difficulties. It did not help matters that Kevin Kuranyi was ruled out just before the start with a knee injury while, with only four minutes on the clock, a mistake from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer allowed Florent Malouda to score the opener.
• When Didier Drogba put away a diving header Schalke's second defeat in three group games was confirmed though there were positives and Søren Larsen was unfortunate with a header that came back off an upright. Now Mirko Slomka's team must rediscover the form that enabled them to win away to Rosenborg BK on Matchday 2 as they look to improve on their previous two UEFA Champions League group campaigns in which they finished in fourth and third place.
• It will encourage them that all three previous home games against English opponents in UEFA competition have resulted in victory. The sequence spans 43 years and started with a first round European Champion Clubs' Cup tie in 1958/59 when Schalke overcame Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 2-1. Eleven years later a single goal was enough to see off the challenge of Manchester City FC in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals, though the English side's 5-1 victory in the return denied Schalke a final appearance.
• There was then a gap of 32 years before Schalke crossed swords with English foes again. It came in the first group stage of the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League when they beat Arsenal FC 3-1 at the Arena AufSchalke. It was the final group fixture and it could not prevent Schalke finishing in fourth place while the Gunners went into the contest knowing they had already qualified.
• Chelsea approach this encounter knowing a third successive group win would assure them of a qualifying berth for the fifth successive season should Rosenborg secure a second victory, away at Valencia CF.
• Although the game at Stamford Bridge was the first occasion Chelsea and Schalke had met in UEFA competition, it is the fourth time in the last five campaigns that Chelsea have encountered German opponents and the second successive year they have contested a group stage fixture with a club from that country.
• The last five fixtures between Chelsea and Bundesliga teams have followed a similar pattern, with the home side coming out on top each time. On their last visit to Germany 12 months ago, Chelsea went down 1-0 to Werder Bremen, their only defeat in Group A as they outstripped FC Barcelona to finish in first place. Two seasons before that they took on FC Bayern München in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. The return leg ended 3-2 in Bayern's favour with Frank Lampard and Drogba on target for the visitors but the London side progressed courtesy of their 4-2 home win. Current Chelsea players Michael Ballack and Claudio Pizarro both scored for Bayern in those two games.
• Twelve months before that Chelsea had visited VfB Stuttgart in the first knockout round and gained a 1-0 victory in the first leg, an advantage they protected in a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. It was the only time they have tasted victory in that country – indeed, the only time they have avoided defeat – in four visits. Schalke's Marcelo Bordon was in the Stuttgart team for the first leg.
• Stuttgart were Chelsea's opponents in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final when Gianfranco Zola's goal in Stockholm was enough to give Chelsea the trophy for a second time.