Champions League Match Preview: Group E

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Updated: December 4, 2013
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho, right, pats Chelsea's Ramires on the back after winning the Champio

Asian sportsbook favorite, Chelsea will definitely enter the knockout stage, but it still unsure if they can finish on top of the group while Schalke and Basel vie for the next spot to advance in the tournament. On the other hand, Steaua Bucuresti shall play for pride and honor’s sake.

 

Chelsea vs Steaua Bucuresti

 

Match Date: 11 December 2013 (local time)

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Team Form

Chelsea

Chelsea’s loss to Basel fails to complete their automatic qualification in the knock-out stage. Disappointed by the result, top brass, Jose Mourinho described the scenario as a “deserved defeat.”  Due to this, the Blues carries the pressure of winning over Steaua Bucuresti to emerge as the group winner.

 

In preparation for the upcoming match, Mourinho called unto Michael Eissein. He shall be filling the shoes of Marco van Ginkel, who was sidelined due to a knee injury. Another player who will be back in the pitch is Samuel Eto’o who was unable to finish the Basel encounter due to a pulled hamstring in the first-half.

 

Basel has been the only squad that trampled over Chelsea in this season’s Champions League tournament. The Blues have had no problems dominating the match against Steaua Bucuresti as they gained the upper hand in 2 of their last 3 encounters.

 

Steaua Bucuresti

Despite clinching an extra point during the goalless stalemate against Schalke 04, Steaua  Bucuresti’s bid in the Champions League ended early, Currently, the club sits at the rock bottom part of their group.

 

Steaua Bucuresti has not won a single match in the tournament. Three (3) consecutive draws were the best performance that the club has to offer. Pitted against Chelsea, they provide an avenue for their opponent to finish on top of its group.

 

Champions League betting tip: Chelsea 

 

Schalke 04 vs FC Basel

 

Match Date: 11 December 2013 (local time)

Venue: Veltins Arena

Team Form

Schalke 04

A disappointing draw against Steaua Bucuresti made the Royal Blues’ lives harder in the Champions League. Instead of a comfortable runner-up spot and a place in the knock-out stage, the club will need to overcome FC Basel. The latter’s victory against Chelsea created chaos in the group.

 

Jens Keller needs to be more cautious when they tackle Basel. They were unable to score during their last 3 matches and with the tight race for the knockout stage, they cannot simply park the bus.
It is still uncertain if Klaas Jan Huntelaar can return soon. Joining him in the injury list is Dennis Aogo, who is sidelined due to a torn cruciate ligament.  However, Kevin-Prince Boateng, who is said to be undergoing a knee treatment is deemed fit to join his comrades in the upcoming clash.

 

Schalke’s last 3 encounters with Basel ended with 2 victories and a draw, thus, giving them the immediate advantage in the match.

 

FC Basel

FCB has been one of the Champions League’s eye candies. For the second time around, the club forced Chelsea to wave the white flag. They are seen as one of the contenders to advance in the knockout stage or even topple Chelsea again in the bid for the top spot in the group stage.

 

It is never too late for Murat Yakin and his men. The Swiss outfit can still, advance in the competition if they snatch the victory against the Royal Blues. They are just a win away from qualifying and evidently, this is highly possible.
One of the key players to watch out for is Mohamed Salah. The winger scored crucial goals which left Jose Mourinho’s camp scratch their heads in astonishment. Along with Salah is Fabian Schar, who has been one of the club’s most flexible defenders responsible for blocking the attacking assaults of their respective opponents.

 

FCB has won and drew twice in the current tournament. One of their matches ended in a defeat and it was against their upcoming rival, Schalke 04. In as much as they have been Chelsea’s scourge, Schalke may also take that role when the two of them meet.

 

Champions League betting tip: FC Basel 

 

 

Image Source: The Guardian