Title chasing on Saturday afternoon, when a revitalized Schalke 04 team visits the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich will be anxious to avoid a potential banana skin.
Schalke, who are fighting for their very existence at the bottom of the Bundesliga standings, are attempting to win their third straight match, while Bayern maintain one point ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top.
With just three rounds left in the Bundesliga season, Bayern Munich maintained their slim one point lead after defeating Werder Bremen 2-1 in the previous round. This season’s title fight is the closest it has been at this point since Bayern and Wolfsburg were tied on points in 2008/09, but this time around, they’ll be hoping to hold on and win their record extending 11th straight Bundesliga title.
Despite the slim chances of Bayern accomplishing so, that is not a given, especially given that they have previously displayed frailty at home against teams placed 14th or lower, surrendering significant points in two of those games (W2, D2). But perhaps Die Roten’s impressive record in their last 21 league games against opponents who had been promoted (W17, D3, L1) should inspire confidence ahead of Schalke’s visit, now in 15th position.
The only loss against a Bochum squad led by current Schalke manager Thomas Reis was the sole blemish on that unblemished record against promoted teams. With three wins in the last four rounds, the most recent of which was a 3-2 victory at Mainz that saw them start the day as heavy underdogs, he’ll be looking to shock the odds once more with his resurgent Royal Blues.
They still have a lot of work to do because, going into round 32, there were just five points separating the bottom four teams. Breaking a five games losing streak at the Allianz Arena might be the difference between the most unlikely of epic escapes. It’s difficult to imagine them improving on that H2H record, especially given that Schalke has allowed 15 straight goals at this location without answering.
Serge Gnabry, who had already scored in back to back games prior to this, was responsible for five of Bayern’s 15 consecutive home H2H goals, four of which came after halftime. Unusually for them, Dortmund supporters will support their adversaries in the Revierderby, especially Marius Bülter (G11), who leads the league in scoring. His goals have contributed to 35% of Schalke’s total strikes, the highest percentage of any team in the league.
The extensive injured list for Bayern Munich now includes Josip Stanisic, who joins other notable players like Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Alphonso Davies, Dayot Upamecano, and Paul Wanner.
Additionally, the Bavarians will be missing Lucas Hernandez and Manuel Neuer for the duration of the season, thus Yann Sommer will continue to fill in for Neuer in goal.
Once again, Sadio Mane, Jamal Musiala, and Kingsley Coman are anticipated to accompany Serge Gnabry in attack.
With Joao Cancelo and Noussair Mazraoui manning the full back positions, Benjamin Pavard is most likely to pair Matthijs de Ligt at center back while Joshua Kimmich, who has never failed, will remain in midfield.
Eder Balanta, Ralf Fahrmann, Justin Keekeren, Moritz Jenz, and Soichiro Kozuki are among the numerous injured players that are now out for Schalke.
Simon Terodde will likely continue to captain the line if Thomas Reis chooses to keep his starting lineup unaltered in an effort to extend his team’s winning streak.
After scoring twice the last time out, Marius Bulter will be joined by Rodrigo Zalazar and Kenan Karaman in front of the lone striker, and Sepp van den Berg, on loan from Liverpool, will pair with Marcin Kaminski in the center of defense.
Possible starting lineup for Bayern Munich
Sommer, Mazraoui, Pavard, De Ligt, Cancelo, Gravenberch, Kimmich, Coman, Musiala, Mane and Gnabry.
Possible starting lineup for Schalke 04
Schwolow, Brunner, Van den Berg, Kaminski, Matriciani, Krauss, Kral, Karaman, Zalazar, Bulter and Terodde.
We predict: Bayern Munich 3–1 Schalke 04
We anticipate Bayern Munich to flex their muscles and take another step toward securing an 11th Bundesliga title in as many years, despite the significant gains Schalke has made recently.