Chelsea thrashes Schalke 5-0 to qualify as Champions League group winners

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — Chelsea crushed Schalke 5-0 on Tuesday to seal a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a dominant performance by midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

Goals by John Terry, Willian and an own goal by Jan Kirchhoff before halftime, plus goals in quick succession by second-half substitutes Didier Drogba and Ramires, made sure Chelsea won Group G with one match to spare.

Roberto di Matteo won the Champions League as coach of Chelsea in 2012, but his new club Schalke was comprehensively outplayed by the London side, which now has 11 points from five matches.

Schalke has five points and needs a win at Maribor in the final match to have any chance of advancing.

"I can't find words to explain this," Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes said. "I can only apologize to our fans."

Chelsea is still unbeaten this season in 19 matches in all competitions, while Schalke fell to its first home defeat since April. Chelsea's Jose Mourinho is seeking to become the first coach to win the Champions League with three different clubs.

Even Mourinho was impressed, saying his team made no mistakes.

"I don't remember Chelsea playing this way away from home. You may say Schalke had their problems, but I think tonight every team playing us would have had a very difficult time," Mourinho said.

Terry opened the scoring in the second minute, heading in a corner from Fabregas. The corner came after a Diego Costa effort that was turned away by Schalke's goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann.

Schalke's only real chance of the match came in the 13th minute, when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's shot was deflected by Gary Cahill and crashed off the post.

Willian doubled the lead in the 29th after exchanging passes with Eden Hazard and slotting his shot under Faehrmann.

In the 44th, Kirchhoff headed into his own net with a clumsy clearance attempt after another Fabregas corner that came after Faehrmann had punched out a half-volley attempt by Oscar.

A volley by Branislav Ivanovic sailed just wide before Chelsea dispelled any hopes Schalke might have of a comeback.

Drogba, who came on for Diego Costa, scored in the 76th following a neat through ball from Fabregas to Willian, who passed to the unmarked Ivorian striker.

Two minutes later, Drogba set up Ramires for a header at the far post for the final score.

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