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Champions League Preview: Steaua Bucharest-Schalke

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Champions League Preview: Steaua Bucharest-Schalke
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Champions League Preview: Steaua Bucharest-Schalke

Schalke will be looking to bounce back from consecutive 3-0 defeats to Chelsea when it visits Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday.

The Bundesliga side still sits second in Group E of the Champions League, with Basel having squandered two opportunities to climb into the top two with back-to-back 1-1 draws against Steaua, but any more dropped points could seriously hamper Schalke's chances of reaching the knockout stages.

Jens Keller will take confidence, though, from the reverse fixture against the Romanian club, which ended in a 3-0 victory, with Atsuto Uchida, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Julian Draxler netting in the second half.

Steaua currently occupies bottom spot with just two points and two goals to show from the opening four fixtures, so anything other than a win in this match would see it eliminated from the competition.

In contrast to its continental form, Steaua is unbeaten in its domestic campaign, with nine victories and three draws from it 12 ties.

It has not played since November 6 after its last fixture against Universitatea Cluj was postponed to allow players more time to prepare for Romania's World Cup qualifying playoff clash against Greece, which Romania lost 4-2 on aggregate.

Schalke has won six of its last 10 matches away from home, losing just one, and sits sixth in the German top flight, four points adrift of the Champions League qualifying positions.

Marco Hoger (knee), Chinedu Obasi (tibia) and Kyriakos Papadopoulos (knee) are all set to miss out for Schalke, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (knee) is unlikely to return to first-team action until the new year.

Meanwhile, Steaua will be without Lucian Filip, who is sidelined after suffering a broken leg in training last week, and Mihai Pintilii is likely to miss out with a muscle strain.

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