Jens Keller is without Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, Tranquillo Barnetta and Ibrahim Afellay, so Raffael should come in behind Ciprian Marica in attack, with Julian Draxler moving to the right wing. Marco Hoger will replace the suspended Roman Neustadter in midfield.
Bayer Leverkusen’s management team of Sami Hyypia and Sascha Lewandowski are without the suspended Stefan Reinartz, so Gonzalo Castro is likely to drop back into midfield, with Sidney Sam replacing him in attack. In defence, Michal Kadlec will replace the also suspended Sebastian Boenisch at left back, while Daniel Schwaab may continue to get the nod ahead of Omer Toprak.
With six games to go in the Bundesliga the title may be over but the competition for Champions League places is still alive. Leverkusen in 3rd currently have a 4 point lead over 5th placed Freiburg, who are level on points with Schalke but trail on goal difference. With Freiburg having played a game more, Schalke can put clear air between themselves and 5th place with a victory, whereas a win for Leverkusen would give them a 7 point cushion and all but confirm their place in the top four… (Read more)
Jens Koller will be delighted to see Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring again – the Dutch striker got his first goal since November against Wolfsburg last weekend. Huntelaar is vital to Schalke’s single striker system, especially given the adjustments required in the attacking midfield roles following Lewis Holtby’s January departure. The home side could well be full strength, although that depends on the fitness of three first choice defenders Christian Fuchs, Joel Matip and Atsuto Uchida. Fuchs and Uchida missed the Wolfsburg game but have returned to training, whilst Matip has been out with flu.
Borussia Dortmund also have few concerns, and should be boosted by their midweek Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. Mats Hummels again missed the game through injury, despite featuring as a substitute in Dortmund’s last Bundesliga match, so it is likely that Felipe Santana will continue to deputise.
Dortmund cannot catch Bayern Munich in 1st place, but will want to stay 2nd ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. Meanwhile Schalke will hope their dreadful midseason run, which saw them slip out of the European places, has ended with two successive victories and a goal for Huntelaar. They find themselves in 6th but are only two points away from 4th and the final Champions league place… (Read more)
With Bayern Munich flying at the top of the Bundesliga and Schalke currently experiencing a poor run of form, Schalke manager Jens Keller may drop his customary 4-3-3 shape in favour of a more defensive 4-1-4-1 as his predecessor did in the reverse fixture in September. Unfortunately they will be without first choice forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to lead the line, so must choose between Ciprian Marica and Teemu Fukki. Jupp Heynckes has no major selection concerns and will start with Bayern’s usual 4-2-1-3 shape. With such discrepancy in form between the two clubs Schalke will travel to Munich in the hope of avoiding defeating, while the home side will look to continue their excellent form… (Read more)
Second hosts third in the Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund have lost once away all season, whereas Bayer Leverkusen are unbeaten at home. This is a contest between one of the league’s most proactive sides – Dortmund – against one of its most reactive – Leverkusen. This will be marginally tested by Leverkusen being at home, but still expect Dortmund to monopolise possession and the home side to attack on the break. However the most intriguing aspect of the fixture will be whether joint managers Sami Hyypia and Sascha Lewandowski will stick with Leverkusen’s usual 4-3-3 system, or switch to the 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1 formation that they used against Dortmund earlier in the season. Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund will play in their usual way, so the pattern of the game will depend on Leverkusen’s choice of system… (Read more)