With the Champions League group stage reaching a climax tonight, Andre Schurrle has been assessing the significance of our final game ahead of next week’s draw for the last 16.
A win against Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge will guarantee our spot at the top of Group E, while we will also finish first if we draw against the Romanian champions and Basel fail to beat Schalke in Gelsenkirchen.
As Jose Mourinho suggested in his pre-match press conference yesterday, the group winners are likely to receive a more favourable draw than those who qualify in second place, and the manager’s opinion is one shared by his in-form winger Andre Schurrle.
‘A club like Chelsea always needs to be at the top of the table in the group stage of the Champions League because almost all the other big teams are first in the group, like Bayern and Barcelona,’ Schurrle tells the official Chelsea website.
‘It’s an important game today that we need to win to be top of the table.’
Though the German would prefer a first-place finish in the group, he is aware that even that would not guarantee an advantageous pairing in the last 16. The 23-year-old singles out last season’s Champions League runners-up as a side who currently sit second in their group, and will pose a considerable threat in next Monday’s draw irrespective of their final position.
‘Borussia Dortmund are a great team and no team will want to have them in the next round.
‘But first we must come top of the table and then we will accept everything that comes our way because we are a good team too. However the draw goes, we want to go as far as we can.’
Schurrle comes into tonight’s game fresh from netting a brilliant brace on Saturday against Stoke, with his two strikes in the Potteries blending power with precision. He is pleased the extra time he has spent on the training ground working on his weaker side paid such handsome dividends in what was his first start for a month.
‘Normally I don’t score with my left foot, and now all the three goals I’ve scored in the Premier League are with my left foot,’ points out Schurrle.
‘It’s surprising to me but of course I try with my left foot in training when we do shooting practice. I want to improve my left foot, so to score two goals with my left is good for me.
‘When I play I do my best and the rest is the decision of the manager. The defeat on Saturday was disappointing but we need to keep going for the match tonight.’