Schalke 04 – Leipzig (Bundesliga)
Schalke 04 and Leipzig will measure forces this sunday at Veltins Arena, in Gelsenkirchen, in a game referent to the 30th round of the Bundesliga. After losing to Darmstadt in the league’s last round, Schalke arrives here unmotivated after letting go an almost assured qualification to the Europa League semi-finals, this friday night against Ajax. Leipzig, on their turn, arrives here full of confidence after four consecutive wins, keeping the dream of catching up the mighty Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
Schalke 04 sits 11th place in Bundesliga table, which comes from 1o wins, 7 draws and 12 defeats, with 38 goals scored and 34 goals conceded. This is, definitely, a season to forget for Schalke 04, who went through the worst start of the season in all the history of the club, which was followed by a rather irregular course throughout the season and that culminated with the Europa League exit on thursday night. The Royal Blues lost 2-0 in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals at Ajax’s home ground, and reached the 90th minute of this thursday winning by 2-0 and in numerical advantage, which drew the eliminatory and forced both teams to play more 30 minutes of game, with Schalke disappointing their supporters one more time after conceding 2 goals against only 10 men.
The only thing still worth fighting for this season is to reach European spots in the league table, but are already 4 points in disadvantage from 6th place and, to get there, a victory over this Leipzig is mandatory. The Royal Blues won 3 of their last 5 home games for Bundesliga, drawing the other 2, with a total of 11 goals scored and only 3 conceded, keeping 2 clean sheets in the process. However, and in spite of their good home form, the coach Markis Weinzirl sees some key-players out for this game, due to injury, which makes it harder to rotate the team.
In their last 5 official games, Schalke 04 won 2 games and lost the 3 remaining. This sequence of results began with a 3-0 defeat at Werder Bremen’s ground. This result was followed by a 4-1 home win over Wolfsburg, a 2-0 defeat at Ajax’s home ground, a 2-1 away at Darmstadt’s ground, and in their last game, a 3-2 home victory over Ajax. Embolo, Rahman Baba, Choupo-Moting are out due to injury, while Kehrer is suspended.
Possible Lineup: Fahrmann – Coke, Howedes, Nastasic e Aogo – Geis e Bentaleb – Schopf, Meyer e Caligiuri – Burgstaller.
O Leipzig sits 2nd place with 61 points, which comes from 19 wins, 4 draws and 6 defeats, with 55 goals scored and 30 conceded. This recently-promoted side are being the greatest surprise of the season, having faced all the giants of the german top tire league and ended up winning some of them, what lefts them now isolated in the second place, with Bayern Munich 8 points above, and Hoffenheim 7 bellow.
The Bulls have their presence in the next season Champions League edition almost guaranteed, and arrive here motived after winning all last 4 consecutive games, scoring 11 games and having conceded only 3 in the process, keeping 3 clean sheets in these 4 matches. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men seem to have rediscovered their strong attacking form from the first half of the season, and are demolishing any defense that stands in their way. Away from home is not their best moment, but they have managed to score some points recently, losing only 1 of the last 4. The Bulls likes to put pressure up high on the field and the counter-attack are their main offensive characteristic.
In their last 5 games, Leipzig won 4 and lost the other one. This sequence of results started with a 3-0 away defeat at Werder Bremen’s home, which was followed by a 4-0 home win over Darmstadt, a 2-3 victory in Mainz’s territory, a 1-0 home win over Bayer Leverkusen, and in their last clash, a 4-0 home win against SC Freiburg. Klostermann is out due to injury.
Probable Lineup: Gulácsi – Bernardo, Orban, Compper e Halsterberg – Sabitzer, Keita, Demme e Forsberg – Poulsen e Werner.
Leipzig won the only direct clash ever played between these two teams.
|RB Leipzig||2-1||Schalke 04||
1. Bundesliga 16/17
It is to predict a game of high intensity, with Leipzig trying to put pressure on a possibly fatigued Schalke side, and possibly taking all the 3 points.