Michael Ballack says Chelsea are capable of winning this season’s Champions League after their 5-0 thrashing of Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday night.
The Blues destroyed the Bundesliga outfit at the Veltins-Arena to not only confirm their safe passage through to the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition, but they also won Group G with a game still to be played in the section.
And after such an eye-catching display by Chelsea, the one-time Germany international stated that Jose Mourinho’s men are more than capable to winning their second Champions League title in Berlin in June.
“I cannot yet see any weak links, they are really solid and if you judge them after the game today, they can win it,” said Ballack.
“And if you judge them after the whole season, then they can win it too! But it was not the right opponent today, and they know it too, and Mourinho is too experienced to get too euphoric.”
However, Ballack was also quick to emphasise that there are far tougher tests awaiting Chelsea in the knockout rounds.
“They will come stronger teams to beat like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid,” added Ballack. “But they are one of these teams that can win it for sure.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea back-up goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said that Mourinho would not even be discussing with his players the possibility of winning this season's Champions League for the very first time as manager of the club.
“It is not something that we actually talk about, if anything the manager is actually on the other side by saying: ‘We just need to keep going and take each game as it comes. Do not think about winning every single game, take each game as it comes,’” said Schwarzer.
“Now this was a massive game for the club, it was a game that we desperately wanted to win to top the group, so it is mission accomplished as far as the Champions League is concerned.
“And now all the sights and preparations are focused on Saturday’s game away at Sunderland, which is going to be a very tough game. You know, you really cannot look beyond the next game,” added the Australian shot-stopper.
And one-time Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle was also quick to praise the west Londoners’ five-star performance, saying: “It could have been eight, nine, or 10 tonight as they kept getting in between Schalke all the time.
“They have every facet of the game, they are very solid, they can score from set plays, they have power, they defend well and they have the three little technicians as well, with Oscar getting back to somewhere near his best, and Willian and Eden Hazard.
“And if those three are coming at you time and time again, then in the end you break a team down. And it is all about team as well, you can tell that the team spirit is really good.
“If you play square against them, then they go over the top. And if you drop off deep, they have people who can take you on one on one and who can create.
“A fabulous performance from Chelsea tonight, it really was,” concluded Hoddle.