Chelsea defeated Schalke 0-3 in Champions League action this Tuesday. It was Chelsea’s first return to Germany since lifting the European Cup two years ago. Fernando Torres led the scoring in his 100th start at Chelsea with two goals. The first would come very early and would set the tone for the match. In the 5th minute, Torres finished off a flick-on from Branislav Ivanovic, a play which came as the result of a well-taken corner from Frank Lampard.
Chelsea controlled the play for the rest of the half but were unable to capitalize until after the break. In the 68th minute, Oscar led a two man break, eventually leaving Torres to collect the ball and put it into the open net. Eden Hazard would seal the victory with a late strike, as Schalke were unable to make an impact on the game.
Chelsea, now at the top of their Champions League group, looked sharp and focused on the day. For Jose Mourinho, the match would bring his first managerial win on German soil. Well aware of his six previous failed trips to the country, the manager was more focused on his teams performance than his win-record. Said Mourinho, “We controlled the match and were dangerous. We deserved the points.”
The performance of Fernando Torres was promising, especially in light of Chelsea’s recent lack of striking potency. After the match, he was positive towards his clubs progression. “We can still improve, though,” said the striker. “The first half was tight but in the second the individual quality made the difference. As a team we are feeling much better. Individually, too. I’ve felt sharp and well in the last few games but we have three very good strikers and we all need to be ready, every one of us. The competition is healthy.”
Chelsea look in good shape at the top of their Champions League group with three remaining matches. First, they will be hosting Schalke in a return leg at home. With the confidence from this week’s victory, its likely they will at least take a point at home. Then the squad will travel to Basel in a match that will test the Chelsea’s mental nerve. Having lost to Basel at home, they will likely be eager to prove their quality. However, the Swiss club is full of talent and will be emboldened by their previous victory at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s final group stage match is at home against Steaua Bucharest, a team far below the class of the London club.
If Chelsea can keep up their current form, they should easily finish at the top of their group. Now at the top of the Premier League, Mourinho looks to be gaining a firm handle over his squad. In a season that is still wide open, Chelsea are in a prime position to make an honest attempt at both the Premier League title and the European Cup.