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Chelsea travels to Sporting Lisbon in Group G of Champions League, Schalke hosts Maribor

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LISBON, Portugal — It's all level in Group G of the Champions League as the four clubs head into the second set of matches after 1-1 draws.

Chelsea plays at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday, with both clubs looking to take control of the group.

The London club had the lead over Schalke at Stamford Bridge but allowed Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to level the score, while Sporting surrendered its lead to an injury-time equalizer at Maribor.

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho's trip back to his native Portugal is set to provide the biggest thrills as he takes on a club where he was an assistant to Bobby Robson in the early 1990s.

In the other game, Schalke hosts Maribor.

Here are some things to watch:


CHELSEA'S CHANCES

Mourinho's team needs to start taking its chances in front of goal, and Mourinho wants Eden Hazard to play a big part in that at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

Chelsea created plenty of opportunities to finish off Schalke but came up short. The Portuguese coach is hoping to have striker Diego Costa fit for the Lisbon match after the Spaniard scored his eighth goal in six Premier League matches over the weekend.

Mourinho also wants to see an improvement from Hazard, who disappointed in the 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

"I don't know what he needs," the coach said of Hazard's performance. "I know he needs to play more than he did (against Villa)."


SPORTING'S NOVICES

With the exception of former Manchester United winger Nani, Sporting Lisbon has a young and inexperienced team, with almost all the players making their debut in the competition.

And Sporting coach Marco Silva is new to the top flight after coaching second-tier Portuguese clubs before joining Sporting this year.

The club is in the Champions League for the first time in five years.

PHOTO: Chelsea’s Diego Costa celebrates scoring his teams second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, London, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Chelsea’s Diego Costa celebrates scoring his teams second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, London, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

That lack of experience places a burden on Nani to help settle a team that has looked jittery so far. He got the only goal against Maribor.

"Nani has brought us confidence, especially in the Champions League," Algeria striker Islam Slimani said.


STAR POWER

On paper, Chelsea has the pedigree and star power to overwhelm its opponent.

The 2012 Champions League winners, in their 12th consecutive group stage campaign, can draw on a depth of international talent. The drawback: some of its top players, namely Willian, Oscar and Andre Schurrle, are still seeking their best form after their World Cup appearances.

Sporting's spending power — its budget for this season is about 25 million euros ($32 million) — is dwarfed by Chelsea's. But Sporting is unlikely to be a walkover: it is unbeaten in its last 16 European home games and has won its last three home games against English clubs without conceding a goal.


TAME THE EUPHORIA

Schalke's biggest match of the season is always against neighbor and rival Borussia Dortmund and the team needs to come down after its 2-1 victory in the derby last weekend.

"Emotionally, it will be difficult now," Schalke director Horst Heldt said, fearing the team could be feeling empty. "It would be important to win (against Maribor), to confirm the point we earned at Chelsea."

Heldt said Schalke will need to bring in some fresh players.

Two straight wins in the Bundesliga and the derby victory have bolstered the position of coach Jens Keller, who has repeatedly had to defend himself from criticism no matter how successful his team is.


HOPEFUL MARIBOR

Maribor is in the competition's group stage for the first time in 15 years but is buoyed by its draw against Sporting.

The Slovenian club is winless in its four European matches against German opposition, but it has lost just one of its last six European away games.


Associated Press writer Nesha Starcevic in Frankfurt contributed to this report.

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