Chelsea chief Jose Mourinho insisted that he is taking visiting Maribor extremely seriously in Champions League Group G, and so he should given the Slovenians’ remarkable away record in this competition.
Over the past five years, with preliminaries included, Maribor have lost just three out of 14 Champions League away games, making them of great interest at 4/1 in the double-chance market.
Five of their road matches in the continent’s top comp over the past half decade have resulted in away wins, and Ante Simundza’s men are unbeaten in four on their travels this term, with a point snatched at Schalke last time out after seeing off Celtic at Parkhead in the preliminary play-off.
Meanwhile, Chelsea haven’t been the immovable force they were at home in Europe during Mourinho’s first spell in charge, when they lost at Stamford Bridge just once in three campaigns, and at that only narrowly to Barcelona.
Basel left the Special One red faced when snatching a 2-1 in west London in Mourinho’s first Champions League match back, so much so that Chelsea bought winning goalscorer Mohamed Salah four months later, who has hardly played since.
Atletico Madrid also left the Bridge victorious last term at the semi-final stage, which means Chelsea last got that winning feeling at home in this competition all the way back in early April, as Schalke snuck away from London with a point from their opening Group G tussle.
The 1-1 draw with Die Konigsblauen, allied with the far-from-comfortable 1-0 win at Sporting, shows how the Blues’ tip-top Premier League form is failing to translate in continental clashes.
Striker Diego Costa, whose absence from the starting line-up saw Chelsea struggle against Schalke, is out again, having missed the 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace over the weekend, where Mourinho’s men were far from their usual fluent selves.
They can’t be touched at 1/7 given their patchy home form in Europe since the Portugese’s second coming, especially considering the line of form with Schalke strongly points to a draw as the likeliest outcome at 6/1.
For true believers, you can have 27/2 that Simundza’s men claim a stunning victory.