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Chelsea vs. Schalke lineups: Didier Drogba gets a surprise start

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Diego Costa is on fire for Chelsea, but the Spaniard will be rested against Schalke. Veteran Didier Drogba starts instead, which may ease the visitors' panic a bit.

Laurence Griffiths

Wait, haven't we seen this before? Oh, yes. Last season Chelsea and Schalke met in the group stages. And demolished the German side, winning 3-0 both times they met.

And that was before Chelsea brought in Diego Costa. Their goalscorers included Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, which should give a few clues about the frailty of Schalke's defense last season.

The problem is that Schalke have done little to reinforce that defense -- and it shows. This year they've managed to draw Bayern Munich, but don't let that fool you. It remains the only point Schalke have collected. The Royal Blues started off the season with a loss to Hannover and last week they were thrashed by Borussia Mönchengladbach, 4-1.

Gladbach don't even have Diego Costa. Chelsea's new forward has already scored seven goals this season, and it remains to be seen how he'll be stopped. Fortunately for Schalke and their defensive issues, it's Didier Drogba that starts up top for the hosts.


Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Filipe Luis, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Ramires, Willian, Eden Hazard, Didier Drogba

Schalke 04 (4-2-3-1): Fährmann; Marco Höger, Kaan Ayhan, Roman Neustädter, Christian Fuchs; Kevin-Prince Boateng, Dennis Aogo, Sidney Sam, Max Meyer, Julian Draxler; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar