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Schalke host the Blues on Tuesday and the 20-year-old midfielder, whom the Blues tried in vain to acquire over the summer, has the chance to prove he is better than his compatriot

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By Hassan Talib Haji

There is hardly a bigger stage. Illuminated by floodlights and being watched on televisions across the world to the soundtrack of the Champions League anthem, Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle, two of German football's brightest prospects, do battle on Tuesday as Schalke host Chelsea.

It all comes with an intriguing backdrop. Draxler was courted by the Blues throughout the summer, but elected to stay with his boyhood club (despite a lucrative offer to leave), with the west Londoners eventually signing Schurrle instead. Germany boss Joachim Low will be among the interested observers.
A TALE OF TWO GERMANS

 2012-13 (all comps)

Games
Goals
Assists
Draxler
39
13
7
Schurrle
43
14
10
 2013-14 (all comps)

Games
Goals
Assists
Draxler
15
3
3
Schurrle
9
0
1


The rise of Draxler, who only recently turned 20, has been long yet mercurial. Coming to prominence on the back of some game-changing performances as Schalke won the 2011 DFB Pokal, rumours of admiration from Jose Mourinho, then at Real Madrid, first surfaced when he was just 17.

Since that day, Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has been constantly fending off questions regarding Draxler's future.

And so the Portuguese tried to take advantage of a buyout clause inserted into the youngster's contract over the summer. When he turned down a move to Stamford Bridge, Manchester City and Real Madrid, 'the Special One' turned to Schurrle, who had long been on Roman Abramovich's shopping list.

Though both are striving for a berth on the left wing at international level (with Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus for competition), they certainly possess different qualities. As Schurrle excels with his explosiveness and speed, Draxler relies upon his reading of the game, intelligence and fearsome shot.

Both are certain to be on the plane for Brazil next summer. The younger of the two has been a fixture in the Nationalelf for over a year, while the former Mainz and Leverkusen star staked his claim for a starting place with a hat-trick against Sweden last week.

Draxler did well to wait for a move away from the Veltins Arena for another year. He has the class to thrive in leagues other than the Bundesliga, but he lacks the consistency at 20 to live up to pressure. As a local boy, Schalke fans will provide him with the patience he needs to develop his game before a move to England or Spain.

But Schalke still have a chance to show their most prized talent that his current home is the place for him. Jens Keller's side have taken six points from their opening two Champions League games and a home win over the Blues would all but book their place in the last 16, as well as prove that they can mix it with Europe's best.

And so it is a landmark game: for Schalke to establish themselves among the European elite; for Draxler to show the world (not to mention Low) what he can do and to demonstrate to Chelsea why they signed the wrong German winger over the summer.

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