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NK Maribor vs. Chelsea, 2014 UEFA Champions League: Time, TV schedule and game preview

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With a win in Slovenia, Chelsea can guarantee qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds with two matches to spare.

Laurence Griffiths

While perhaps this isn't the most compelling matchup of the week, given that Chelsea tonked Maribor to the tune of 6-0 just two weeks ago, this match is notable for one thing: Chelsea can guarantee qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds with a win.

This hasn't been a perfect group stage for Chelsea, after drawing with Schalke in London in their group stage opener, but they've impressed in wins against Sporting Lisbon and Maribor since then. Now, a win or draw for Schalke against Sporting mean that Chelsea will be out of the reach of the bottom two sides in Group G. They won't have secured the top spot just yet, but just getting qualification this early gives them a lot of flexibility in how they approach their last two matches. First thing's first, though: they still have to win on Wednesday.

Key player - André Schürrle (Chelsea)

This hasn't exactly been a season that's gone to plan for Schürrle. He hasn't played quite up to expectations when he's gotten chances this campaign, and as a result he perhaps hasn't spent as much time on the pitch as he'd like. Still, this is a match where he can really strut his stuff and try to get things back on track if he's given the opportunity. Expect to see him to everything he can to prove that his miscues earlier this season are behind him now.

Key Matchup - Tavares vs. Gary Cahill

If Maribor are going to have any chance at getting anything at all out of this match, or even proving that they can hold their own against the best, they'll have to find a way to score early. That means they'll be leaning heavily on Tavares, hoping that the Brazilian forward can make some magic happen. If he can, it's going to come against Cahill, who has been slow to grow in to matches this season for Chelsea. If Maribor can strike first and early, they might be able to knock Chelsea off balance for a spell, and who knows what can happen from there.

NK Maribor injuries and suspensions

Out: Aleksander Rajčevič (head) In doubt: Agim Ibraimi (illness), Aleš Mejač (hamstring), Željko Filipović (illness)

Chelsea injuries and suspensions

Out: none In doubt: Diego Costa (hamstring), Loïc Rémy (groin), John Obi Mikel (knee)

Chelsea come in to this match mostly healthy, with the exception of their two injured strikers. Maribor, on the other hand, are missing one key defender, and will likely be without another regular defensive starter as well as a midfield regular. That will make the already-daunting task of containing Chelsea's potent attack all the harder, and this match runs the potential of being even uglier for the Slovenian side than the reverse fixture was.

Match Date/Time: Wednesday, 8:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Ljuski vrt, Maribor, Slovenia

TV: Fox Soccer Plus (U.S. - English), Sky Sports 1/HD (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada), SportKlub 1 (Slovenia)

Online: Fox Soccer 2GO (U.S.), Sky Go (U.K.), Sportsnet World Now (Canada)

Listings via LiveSoccerTV.