Chelsea's Champions League opponents facing injury nightmare over star defender

Schalke 04

Schalke are going to be without defender Benedikt Howedes for Wednesday's trip to face Chelsea after he sustained a hip injury.

Schalke sit in 16th place in the Bundesliga table, with just one point from their opening three games leaving them third from bottom - and it doesn't get much easier for Jens Keller's side as they must travel to London to face Chelsea on Wednesday as they get their Champions League campaign kicked off.

And already, Keller has been handed a big blow. Star defender Benedikt Howedes has been left back in Gelsenkirchen after picking up a hip injury, meaning he will miss the game at Stamford Bridge - and leaving Schalke short of defensive cover, much to Keller's frustration.

"Of course it's very difficult if you lose your captain," said Keller. "Central defence for us is also a very difficult situation. We'll just have to put four players into the back four. We've still got a bit of time to think about what our solutions are and what options we have."

"I don't know how long he'll be missing, but he is a very important player for us. He's very confident now, having won the World Cup. We've got lots of games ahead of us, two games a week, so we hope that it won't be too long."

Howedes, 26, enjoyed a winning World Cup campaign and was pressed into action at full back despite being a centre back by trade. His absence severely damages their chances of keeping Diego Costa quiet, with the Spaniard already on seven goals in four Premier League games.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch