Bayern Munich and Schalke are both looking to get their first wins on board in the new Bundesliga season, after failing to pick up three points on match-day one.
The defending champions fell to a shocking home draw to Hertha Berlin, while David Wagner’s side fought hard to earn a point at Borussia Monchengladbach.
With a win quintessential for both managers, this should be a thrilling encounter.
Story behind the game
Bayern Munich didn’t really have the perfect start to their Bundesliga title defence, losing their lead and barely managing to scrape a point against Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena. Despite enjoying a relatively successful pre-season, the cracks in their system were quite visible against Hertha and Niko Kovac now needs to solve his issues to save his side from going off the rails.
Schalke also enjoyed a decent pre-season campaign, but their draw against Gladbach is seen as a point won than two lost due to how difficult a trip there is. After enduring their worst season in three decades last time, David Wagner has quite the intimidating job as he attempts to regain Die Knappen their long-lost glory.
Bayern have enjoyed a dominant record against Schalke, having been unbeaten in more than 10 games against Die Knappen. They’ve won all their last four visits to the Veltins-Arena and have dominated the hosts every-time. Considering their good form at this ground, it’s probably perfect for them to get their season underway with another compelling win against the hosts.
Schalke, meanwhile, would’ve definitely preferred an easier start to the season, especially after their nightmares last time around. Wagner is still blending into his new job, but seems to have improved their defensive solidity this time. As long as his back-line holds up, the German will hope his side break their losing streak against the Champions.
Bayern also are in desperate need of a win in order to get their title-chase back on track after falling behind in the first game-week. Their new signings probably won’t feature that much, but Niko Kovac will hope his current core is strong enough to wither the storm at Schalke and prove just how emphatic they are without the new signings.
Schalke are expected to miss influential playmaker Mark Uth for the game, while new signing Ozan Kabak is also yet to recover from his foot injury since joining Schalke in the summer. Nabil Bentaleb is also out with an injury. Wagner should have a fully fit squad otherwise, which is quintessential to stand up to the mighty Bayern.
Niko Kovac has confirmed that Philippe Coutinho will not be playing against Schalke, but Ivan Perisic has a chance to feature after being deemed match-fit. He’ll be missing midfielder Leon Goretzka and young forward Jan-Fiete Arp for the game, while Jerome Boateng is also
Schalke XI: Nubel, Kenny, Stambouli, Nastasic, Oczipka, McKennie, Mascarell, Caliguiri, Harit, Raman, Burgstaller.
Bayern Munich XI: Neuer, Kimmich, Sule, Hernandez, Alaba, Alcantara, Tolisso, Gnabry, Muller, Coman, Lewandowski.
Kingsley Coman vs Jonjoe Kenny
Kingsley Coman is walking on a tight rope after the introduction of Perisic, which puts his place in the starting XI under severe danger. After failing to impress against Hertha, Coman needs to come up with something big on Saturday. Schalke’s defence is reinvigorated under Wagner, with Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny already impressing in a similar blue. The 22-year-old is not only an adventurous fellow going forward, but also defensively strong against feisty wingers. As Coman presses with his trickery and blistering pace for a goal or assist against the adaptable Kenny, the battle on the left should be a fiery one.
Daniel Caliguiri vs David Alaba
This game will heavily be played out wide because of the quality of wingers for both sides, but Daniel Caliguiri has a unique spark about him. He was among Schalke’s best players in a disappointing campaign last time, as he’s also retained his solid form over the summer. Caliguiri’s pace and creativity down the right could be really tricky for David Alaba, who prefers a more expressive role going forward. The Bayern left-back needs to be on his toes, keeping a close eye on the opposition winger who can whiz into promising positions. It’ll be an interesting bout to see who outwits the other between these two versatile players.