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Roberto di Matteo to meet Chelsea again, now as coach of Schalke; Chelsea can advance with win


GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — Roberto di Matteo will face his old club when Schalke hosts Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Di Matteo was in charge when Chelsea stunned Bayern Munich to win the 2012 Champions League title. But he was fired in November of that year.

Now, Di Matteo is back at the helm of Schalke. He was still not in charge when Schalke earned a 1-1 draw at Chelsea at the start of Group G and only became coach after the firing of Jens Keller.

Sporting Lisbon hosts last-place Maribor in the other group match.

Here are some things to know about Tuesday's matches:


Chelsea, with eight points, will be through with a win or any draw in which it scores two goals or more.

Schalke, which has five points, will go top with a win but cannot go through or be eliminated for now.

Sporting has four points and will be out if it loses. Maribor will be out if loses or it draws and Schalke wins. Maribor has three points and will finish fourth if it loses and Schalke wins.


Roberto di Matteo says playing against the club he guided to European glory will not be anything extraordinary.

"I will concentrate on my job and try to win with Schalke against Chelsea," Di Matteo said.

Di Matteo was promoted from an assistant to head coach before winning the Champions League on penalties against Bayern Munich. But that was not enough to save his job before the year was over.

PHOTO: Chelsea's Oscar strikes a free kick during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Chelsea's Oscar strikes a free kick during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)


Jose Mourinho has a far more illustrious coaching career than Roberto di Matteo, but the Portuguese still has to win the Champions League as coach with Chelsea.

Mourinho has won the title with FC Porto and Inter Milan but not with Chelsea, whose only title in the top competition was under Di Matteo.

Mourinho is seeking to become the first coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs.


In addition to long-term injures for Julian Draxler, Sead Kolasinac and Jefferson Farfan, Schalke is likely to miss striker Chinedu Obasi and winger Sidney Sam, while defender Jan Kirchhof is doubtful, all with various injuries.

When Schalke and Chelsea met in the group stage last season, Chelsea won 3-0 in Gelsenkirchen. Schalke has not won in its last five home matches against English opponents, losing three and drawing two.

Schalke nearly wasted a three-goal lead before holding on for a 3-2 victory over Wolfsburg over the weekend, while Chelsea beat West Bromwich 2-0 to remain unbeaten in 12 matches.


Sporting Lisbon coach Marco Silva is expected to deploy an attacking team against Maribor as he aims to ensure the Portuguese club secures its presence in European competition before its last group game at Chelsea.

A win over Maribor will guarantee Sporting at least a spot in the Europa League and keep alive its chance of progressing to the second round of the Champions League.

Nani was rested last weekend as Sporting trounced Espinho in the Portuguese Cup. The former Manchester United winger has six goals in 14 games this season.

The big question for Silva is who to pick for the other flank. Andre Carrillo, Diego Capel and Carlos Mane have shared winger duties but none has been strong enough to secure a permanent place.

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