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Chelsea vs. Schalke 04 predicted starting XIs

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has no pressing injury concerns ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League opener against Schalke 04, but that's a luxury the visiting Bundesliga giants could only dream of.

Schalke have endured their worst start to a domestic campaign for 46 years and have at least five key members of their first-team squad missing for a daunting Stamford Bridge test, including Sead Kolasinac, Jefferson Farfan and captain Benedikt Howedes.

Long-term Arsenal target Julian Draxler also faces a late fitness test, so don't be surprised if Jose Mourinho uses that to his advantage and gives Filipe Luis a first competitive start against the Royal Blues.

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Finally time for first Luis start?

Luis has been restricted to a single substitute appearance since competing a £19m switch from last season's Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid in the summer, thanks primarily to the fantastic form of Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back.

The Spaniard could be due a rest though, while there's no question that the minutes of Mourinho's vast array of midfield talent need to be managed ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad.

Oscar is a question mark to start against Schalke for exactly that reason, despite continuing to shrug off any concerns about a serious workload over the last 18 months with strong performances.

Costa could be rested?

Ramires is also due a start after missing out against Swansea City last weekend, while Willian is fighting to replace Andre Schurrle out wide in a battle that looks likely to be keenly contested all season long.

Diego Costa's position is the most interesting selection dilemma for Mourinho though, should he forget niggling hamstring complaints and keep the in-form marksman in attack?

Costa has smashed home seven goals in just four games since sealing a £32.5m switch to West London, but with Didier Drogba back in training and Loic Remy scoring on his debut from the bench the temptation must be there to ease the feared forward's workload.

Chelsea predicted XI to face Schalke: Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luis, Matic, Ramires, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian, Costa

Schalke predicted XI to face Chelsea: Fahrmann, Clemens, Ayhan, Matip, Fuchs, Hoger, Neustadter, Draxler, Boateng, Sam, Choupo-Moting

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
UEFA Champions League

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