FC Krasnodar vs FC Schalke 04 Preview: Can Schalke find continental success away from their domestic troubles?

Die Königsblauen travel to Russia to face FC Krasnodar on Thursday evening as they look to distract themselves from their shockingly poor start in the Bundesliga.

FC Krasnodar vs FC Schalke 04 Preview: Can Schalke find continental success away from their domestic troubles?
Ralf Fährmann has admitted that Schalke have "messed up" the start of the season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Russian outfit FC Krasnodar host Bundesliga side Schalke 04 on Thursday evening, with both sides going into the game on six points from a possible six from their opening matches in Group I.

Hosts looking to continue their impressive recent form in all competitions

Krasnodar have been in good form of late and have won three games from their last five, including a thumping 5-2 win at home to Ligue 1 leaders Nice in their most recent UEFA Europa League match.

Russian striker Fyodor Smolov has been one of the shining lights for Krasnodar this season, netting eight goals in the league and one in the Europa League thus far. Brazilian wide man Joaozinho has been the primary source of goals when it comes to the Europa League for Krasnodar, scoring three goals in two appearances as well as getting one assist across two matches, helping Igor Shalimov's men to the top of Group I as things stand.

The Bulls lie in sixth place in the Russian Premier League, with their only two defeats so far this season coming against Spartak and Locomotiv Moscow by 2-0 and 2-1 scorelines respectively. Shalimov's side are currently unbeaten in eight and will hope to extend that run to nine come tomorrow evening against a Schalke side that have seen contrasting fortunes across all competitions so far this season.

Embolo has been ruled out for the season after his injury at Augsburg. (Photo: Getty Images)
Embolo has been ruled out for the season after his injury at Augsburg. (Photo: Getty Images)

Schalke look to Europe for success after poor start in the Bundesliga

Schalke have been one of the surprising teams in the Bundesliga so far this season, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. Markus Weinzierl's side lie in 16th place in the Bundesliga after a horribly slow start that saw them lose all of their first five games before getting a win and a draw on the board in their last two games against Borussia Mönchengladbach and Augsburg

A big blow to Schalke's Europa League hopes is the injury to Swiss youngster Breel Embolo, who will be out of action for the remainder of the season after he suffered a ankle fracture as well as medial collateral ligament damage during the club's last match against Augsburg.

Goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann spoke about the trip to Russia in an interview with German website Sport1, saying that Krasnodar are "an unknown quantity for most fans" and that he and his team-mates will not underestimate their opposition given the fact they beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 at this stage of the Europa League last season.

Team news

Wanderson is the only absence for the home side in terms of injuries, meaning Shalimov will have almost a full strength squad at his disposal as Krasnodar look to tighten their grip on the top of Group I tomorrow evening.

Schalke on the other hand have a number of injuries on their plate at the moment, with Atsuto Uchida, Coke, Donis AvdijajBernard Tekpetey as well as the aforementioned Embolo all out due to various injuries.

Predicted line-ups

FC Schalke 04 (4-2-3-1): Fährmann; Baba Rahman, Nastasic, Naldo, Höwedes; Geis, Bentaleb; Choupo-Moting, Goretzka, Schöpf; Huntelaar.

FC Krasnodar (4-3-3): Kritsyuk; Petrov, Granqvist, Martynovich, Bystrov; Gazinskiy, Kabore, Eboue; Joaozinho, Ari, Podberezkin.