Bayern face Schalke in their second game of the Ruckrunde and after a terrible defeat at the hands of Wolfsburg, they’ll want to return to winning ways.
The defeat to Wolfsburg was Bayern’s first defeat this season and it highlighted what the absence of key players can do to even a side with squad depth as big as Bayern’s. Schalke on the other hand won against Hannover 96, but the game had more negatives than positives.
Lineups and Tactics
Pep Guardiola went with a four at the back system against Wolfsburg compared to the three at the back that he had often deployed before the winter break. The 4-1-4-1 system gave Wolfsburg good counter-attacking opportunities as Xabi Alonso was the only player shielding the back four. While Alonso is a good deep playmaker, he was often beaten for pace by Wolfsburg pacey frontmen. Against Schalke, we could see Guardiola reverting to a back three again with Mehdi Benatia, Jerome Boateng and Juan Bernat at the back.
David Alaba and Arjen Robben could be played as the wing backs with the trio of Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xabi Alonso employed in the midfield. Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for Bayern against an impressive Schalke defense.
Probable XI: Neuer; Benatia, Boateng, Bernat; Alaba, Alonso, Gotze, Schweinsteiger, Robben; Muller, Lewandowski
The reason Schalke had more negatives than positives despite beating Hannover in their last game is because Marco Hoger and Klass Jan Huntelaar will miss the game against Bayern. Huntelaar has been banned for six games after his challenge on Manuel Schmiedebach and Hoger was substituted for a hamstring injury in the second half. As a result, we could see Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam starting against Bayern instead of the duo.
Roberto Di Matteo went with a three at the back system against Hannover and Schalke played some fluid football at times, but against Bayern away, he could go back to the conventional 4-2-3-1 system. Christian Fuchs and Atsuto Uchida are expected to occupy the full back areas with Matija Nastasic and Benedict Howedes as the center backs. Boateng and Roman Neust dter will provide the shielding in front of the back four with the Ghanaian playing a more dynamic box to box role if he gets the chance to do so. Young Max Meyer will play as the playmaker in the team supported by Tranquillo Barnetta and Sidney Sam on the wings. Striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is the club’s leading goalscorer with nine goals and is expected to lead the line.
Probable XI: Fabian Giefer; Uchida, Howedes, Nastasic, Fuchs; Neust dter, Boateng; Meyer, Sam, Barnetta; Chupo-Moting
- Bayern are yet to lose a game at home and have conceded just two goals at the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga.
- Schalke’s manager Roberto Di Matteo has outfoxed Bayern twice already in his managerial career and is unbeaten against the holders.
After a loss in their last game, Guardiola’s men will be vying for the three points. Schalke stopped them once already this season and with an even better defense this time, there is no reason why they cannot do it again.
Full-time score: Bayern Munich 2-2 Schalke