The Schalke boss pointed to the enormous quality in the ranks of the Europa League holders, who guest at the VELTINS Arena this Tuesday (2045 CET). "They have several top-class players in their squad," he said. "Chelsea are certainly one of the favourites to win the trophy this season. That said, a look at the Group E table and our recent results in the Bundesliga give us reasons to be confident. The support we get from the fans will also be an important factor. They're our twelfth man. We're at home and we have to make Chelsea aware of that from the very first minute."
In squad terms, the Schalke boss looks set to have Kevin-Prince Boateng, Timo Hildebrand and Jermaine Jones at his disposal again, all of whom missed Saturday's Bundesliga game at Eintracht Braunschweig due to injury. "It's looking good," he said. "But we'll have to wait and see how they train today." Nevertheless, Keller described the current injury situation as "less than perfect", with Marco Höger having added his name to the casualty list alongside those of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (knee operation) and Jefferson Farfan (hamstring). The midfielder sustained a partial tear of the cruciate ligament in his right knee at Braunschweig. In contrast, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Chinedu Obasi have returned to the training ground after long injury layoffs, though neither is a candidate for tomorrow's game.
We have to accept the situation as it is.Jens Keller“
"In spite of all the injuries we don't intend to go on about our bad luck or wallow in self-pity," said Keller. "We have to accept the situation as it is. We've achieved some good results recently, after all, even through we've missed several key players through injury. Everyone who plays will give his best because they worked hard last season for the privilege of locking horns with the best teams in Europe."
The Schalke coaching staff have watched Chelsea several times and in light of their recent performances Keller has huge respect for the side managed by Jose Mourinho, whom he describes as one of European club football's great coaches. "But that doesn't mean I'll be after his autograph," he said with a grin. "Chelsea respect us too, we know that."