21st September, 2013
Siblings in football battling it out against each other as if they are complete strangers is no odd sight. Untill recently the Neville brother were doing it whenever Manchester United took the field against Everton and the legendary Charlton brothers in fact played for rival sides Manchester United and Leeds United. Matchday 6 of the 2013-2014 Bundesliga season sees FC Schalke 04 take on Bayern Munich and it will feature half brothers Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jerome Boateng on opposing sides. Having graduated from the youth system of Hertha Berlin and having made their Bundesliga debuts playing for the senior side, Jermoe and Kevin Prince went their separate ways after couple of seasons. Older Kevin Prince crossed the English Channel to Tottenham while Jermoe remained in Germany at Hamburger SV. They even opted to play for different nations internationally as Jerome stuck to his birth nation while Prince went on to represent Ghana in the 2010 World Cup.
After a difficult start to the season, Schalke have done well in recent weeks to get their campaign back on track and the presence of Ghanaian in midfield has certainly made a difference. After featuring in an impressive win over Leverkusen on matchday 4, Prince scored in a 1-0 win over Mainz and topped it off with another goal against Steaua Bucureşti in the Champions League. Schalke currently sit 10th in the table with 7 points from 5 games and a win over Bayern Munich at home will help them climb the table a good way. Guardiola’s Bayern Munich have finally looked their dominating selves over the last couple of games. A good 2-0 win over Hannover 96 last weekend was followed by a 3-0 one over Russian side CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. What has of course been impressive is that Bayern won these games in the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez and new boys Mario Gotze and Thiago. Schweinsteiger and Martinez formed probably one of the best midfields last season and one can say that Pep Guardiola has done well without the duo.
Keller will of course be hoping to avoid the hiding his side received at the hands of their visitors back in February as Bayern ran out 4-0 winners. Schalke have failed to score in their last four league meetings against Bayern.
Team News & Tactical Brief
FC Schalke 04
Kyriakos Papadopoulos is yet to recover from his injury while young fullback Sead Kolašinac will also miss out. Goal poacher Klaas-Jan Huntelaar remains a major doubt and Jens Keller will not be too keen to rush his frontman back into the thick of things especially since forward Ádám Szalai has been in good touch.
Schalke’s backline have done well and Keller should retain the same for this game as well. On loan from Hamburg, Aogo has done well at left back and he will be joined by Höwedes and Matip at the heart of the defense and the excellent Uchida. Young Marco Höger has been quite impressive in the defensive midfield role and he should partner Roman Neustädter. The attacking midfield pretty much picks itself with Farfán, Kevin Prince Boateng and Draxler combining well over the last 3 games. Upfront Szalai has led the line-up quite well in the absence of Huntelaar and should do so once again.
Keller has largely stuck to the popular 4-2-3-1 with the Peruvian Farfan and young Julian Draxler who turned 20 yesterday to provide him the width. Last season Draxler thrived well in the central attacking role but the purchase of KPB from Milan will see him start more often on the left wing. Neustädter and Höger aren’t the best of players going forward but the duo do well when it comes to defensive duties sitting deep in midfield thus allowing their enterprising full backs Uchida and Aogo to get forward and provide the width.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Hildebrand; Uchida, Höwedes, Matip, Aogo ; Neustädter , Höger ; Farfan, Kevin Prince , Draxler ; Szalai
The Treble winners will be without the services of their midfielders Javi Martinez, Mario Gotze and Thiago, all of whom will be watching the game from their treatment tables. Talisman and midfield linchpin Bastian Schweinteiger though should be back from his injury having made a cameo appearance for about 20 mins in the midweek Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow. Pep Guardiola has largely stuck to his 4-1-4-1 formation utilizing his versatile skipper Lahm to play in the defensive midfield role. Lahm has been quite impressive in his new role with Kroos and Muller playing in front of him, but with Schweinsteiger available Pep might resort to moving back to right back.
Towering 35 year old Belgian defender Daniel Van Buyten partnered Jerome Boateng in the heart of the defense against Hannover but expect Dante to take his place. Neuer and Alaba should be taking up their regular positions in the defensive line. With injury concerns in the middle of the park, Guardiola will play returning Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Muller in the midfield with Ribery and Robben/Shaqiri manning the wings. Mandzukic should lead the line-up usual.
Bayern over the last couple of games look ot be slowly getting into the groove of the 4-1-4-1. Kroos has been excellent playing the role of a box-to-box midfielder supporting the attack by just playing behind the attacking trio of Ribery, Muller and Robben and pulling himself back quickly to support Lahm in defense. The transition of the attacking 4-1-4-1 to a defensive 4-2-3-1 when not in ball possession has been key to Bayern dominating over their last two games.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Alaba, Dante, Boateng, Lahm ; Schweinsteiger , Kroos ,Muller, Ribery , Robben/Shaqiri ; Mandzukic
- Schalke’s last four league meetings with Bayern have yielded the scorelines of 4-0, 2-0 , 2-0 and 2-0.
- The last time Jerome and Kevin Prince faced each other on the pitch was back in the World cup of 2010 when Germany played Ghana.
- Guardiola might have a reputation for preferring a striker-less formation, but around 50 % of Bayern’s goals this season have come from their striker.
- Bayern have lost only once in their last 11 visits to the blue side of the Ruhr valley, the defeat coming courtesy of Raul in the DFB Pokal semifinals of 2011.
- Jens Keller Schalke’s manager played for Bayern’s nearest domestic rivals 1860 Munich.
Player to watch out for
Julian Draxler – The young attacker who turned 20 this Friday will be expected to play a key role in unlocking Bayern’s defense. Draxler has featured in all of Schalke’s Bundesliga games this season and boasts a 84.7 % success in his passing accuracy and an assist. Known for his excellent movement and dribbling skills, he will be crucial for Schalke’s chances to score against Bayern.
Schalke 0 -2 Bayern Munich
Schalke v Bayern has always been a good matchup and expect something of a similar kind this time around as well. Bayern have beaten Schalke handsomely in their last 5-6 outings but with the new found form Schalke have, it will not be easy.