Chelsea vs Schalke: Five key talking points
Chelsea will begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday night against second seed Schalke.
The two teams were drawn together in the group stages last season and the Blues managed to earn two comfortable victories as they breezed through to the knockout stages. Here are five things to look out for in the Group G clash at Stamford Bridge.
1) Chelsea are in sparkling form, Schalke are not
Jose Mourinho's new look team has enjoyed a sublime start to the season, with four wins out of four in the Premier League.
Playing a brand of attacking football driven by £30million signing Cesc Fabregas, the Blues have looked unstoppable so far as they search for a first title since 2010; the Germans on the other hand have just one point from three matches.
That point was an impressive draw against defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, but Schalke have lost both of their away matches this season, at Hannover 2-1 and then 4-1 to Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend - this is their worst start to a season in 46 years.
2) Chelsea cruised to victory last season
The Blues picked up easy 3-0 wins in both the home and away ties last season, dominating the home time with 60 per cent possession.
However, five of those goals were scored by players no longer at the club - Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba. Eden Hazard was the other scorer for the side but Chelsea should be confident of a win at Stamford Bridge.
3) Jose Mourinho has something to prove
Jose Mourinho's record in Europe is phenomenal but the Portuguese manager will want to go a step further than he has done in recent seasons.
Since winning the competition with Inter Milan in 2010 Mourinho has not returned to the main event, instead crashing out at the semi-final stage in four consecutive years.
Just as they have done in the Premier League, expect Chelsea to send a message to the rest of Europe with a strong start in the competition.
4) Costa and Fabregas make their European bows for the Blues
Chelsea's star duo have transformed the way Chelsea play and expect them to do the same again.
The pair will also want to make an impression on the rest of Europe at their new club; Costa struggled with injury for Atletico Madrid in last season's final, while Fabregas' departure from Barcelona was not mourned by many.
5) One eye on the weekend
Chelsea have a massive, massive game away to Manchester City on Sunday, the team shaping up to be their main rivals in the title race.
Mourinho will not want his players to over-exert themselves for the game; the manager will want to start fast and have this game wrapped up by half-time so he can rest his key men for the clash at the Etihad.
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.