Schalke will look to take a major step towards qualification into the last 16 of the Champions League with victory over Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday night.
The Germans currently sit second in Group E on six points from four matches, three behind Chelsea, who travel to Basel on Tuesday. The Swiss side are third on five points, with Steaua Bucharest staring at elimination having picked up just two so far this season.
If Schalke defeat Steaua Bucharest and Basel lose to Chelsea, then the German side will go through to the knockout stages as runners-up.
"I would not regard this as a decisive match because we still have one game against Basel [to come], but it is a very important one," Schalke manager Jens Keller said. "If we win, we will take an important step towards our goal of playing in the knockout stage.
"We are well aware of the strength of our opponents - for them it's the last chance to finish third or, though this is a lot more difficult, second. We are well prepared and we know that we're playing against an aggressive team.
"I remember that in Gelsenkirchen it was very hard for us to impose ourselves and it took a long time to get the first goal [it came 67 minutes into an eventual 3-0 win]. We are prepared and I don't think that we've played badly in the recent period in the Bundesliga [where they are unbeaten in three games]."
Steaua know nothing short of a win at home against Schalke will do if they are to keep their slim hopes of finishing second alive.
"Obviously it is a very important match for us," Laurentiu Reghekampf said. "Actually, it is our last chance, because if do not win -- and a win is our only option - our chances of qualifying for the knockout stages will be zero. We will face very strong opponents."
Team News: Lucian Filip and Mihai Pintilii are long-term absentees for Steaua, while midfielder Paul Pirvulescu and Leandro Tatu are major doubts. Federico Piovaccari, though, is available despite not training this week with an abductor problem.
Schalke are sweating on the availability of Julian Draxler, who is down with flu, while goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand [hip] and Leon Goretzka [illness] haven't travelled. Ralf Fahrmann is expected to take his place between the sticks in the absence of Hildebrand.
Key men: Steaua Bucharest: The Romanian side will look to on-loan Sampdoria striker and top scorer Piovaccari to help unlock the Schalke defence.
Schalke: Kevin-Prince Boateng will be the main threat for Steaua and the Romanians will do well to keep for former AC Milan forward quiet.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 1.15 am IST start on Wednesday morning with no live coverage in India. You can catch the action live online by clicking the link HERE. To live stream the match in the U.S. via Fox Sports click HERE. To catch all the action via live streaming in the U.K., click HERE. To catch the game live streaming online in the Middle East and North Africa, click HERE.
Expected lineups: Steaua Bucharest: Tatarusanu; Georgievski, Szukala, Gardos, Latovlevici; Prepelita, Bourceanu; Popa, Stanciu, Tanase; Piovaccari.
Schalke: Fahrmann; Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Kolasinac; Jones, Aogo; Farfan, Meyer, Draxler; Boateng.
Prediction: 2-0 to Schalke