Schalke vs Bayern Munich Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News, Score Prediction & More

?The Bundesliga resumes this Saturday, as last season’s champions face their closest challengers from the 2017/18 season. Bayern, who recorded a comfortable 2-0 away win over Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday night, will be looking to continue their 100% winning start to the season.

In contrast, Schalke will desperately be looking to pick up their first points of the season, with three consecutive defeats leaving them languishing in 17th. 

If tradition is anything to go by, it seems that Schalke already have their work cut out. The previous ten meetings between the two sides have seen Bayern on the winning side seven times, with the other three score draws. In fact, the last time Schalke beat the Bavarian juggernauts in the Bundesliga was in a 2-0 win way back in 2010. 

Classic Encounter

Flash back to January 26th 2002 – the first encounter between these two at the new Arena AufSchalke – when 60,683 fans bore witness to a Bayern thrashing


The first 30 minutes of the match had seen little action, but the next five more than made up for it. Emile Mpenza fired past Oliver Kahn to open the scoring in the 34th minute, before Ebbe Sand doubled the lead almost immediately afterwards. As if that wasn’t enough action, the 41st minute saw Michael Tarnat shown a straight red card.

Ottmar Hitzfeld must have believed he had produced an inspiring half time team talk when Munich pulled one back through Mehmet Scholl less than five minutes after the restart, but Jorge Bohome’s strike just five minutes later – restoring Schalke’s two goal cushion – put paid to a budding career in motivational speaking.

Despite the introduction of Claudio Pizarro and a youthful Owen Hargreaves, Bayern were unable to regain a foothold in the game and eventually fell to a 5-1 defeat.

Key Battles

Robert Lewandowski vs Naldo

FC Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

The simple mentioning of Robert Lewandowski is enough to send chills down a defender’s spine. Scoring twice and assisting once in Bayern’s first three league games, the Polish hitman added another goal against Benfica on Tuesday night. 

However, experienced defender Naldo, who has just begun his thirteenth season in the Bundesliga at the ripe age of 35, has the potential to be every bit the match for Lewandowski. 

Schalke fans and youth team players alike will feel the impact when Naldo finally hangs up the boots but for now, the Brazilian international – who accumulated more minutes last season than ever before in the Bundesliga – is feeling younger and hungrier than ever.

Capable of striking ?free-kicks at ?78mph and with immense physical strength, if anyone in Schalke’s side can match Lewandowski, it will be Naldo.

Team News

Schalke: Domenico Tedesco’s side, who were also in action in the Champions League this week have accumulated no fresh injury concerns but are still without the defensive duo of Bastian Oczipka (groin) and Benjamin Stambouli (ankle).

Sebastian Rudy will be hoping to prove a point to his former employers, as he is likely to feature in the Schalke midfield after his summer move from Bayern.

Bayern Munich: The Bundesliga champions were dealt serious blows in last weekend’s win over Bayern Leverkusen, losing both Corentin Tolisso and Rafinha to long-term injuries, while Javi Martinez hobbled off on Wednesday night and Thiago is struggling with a knock.

Niko Kovac may look to Renato Sanches this weekend, alongside former Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka.

Predicted Lineups

FC Schalke 04 (3-5-2) Fahrmann; Sane, Naldo, Nastasic; Caligiuri, Rudy, Bentaleb, McKennie, Schopf; Uth, Embolo

Bayern Munich (4-3-3) Neuer; Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba; Sanches, Goretzka, Martinez; Ribery, James, Lewandowski


Despite Bayern’s recent injury problems, they have the strength in depth to deal with this Schalke side comfortably. 
This, coupled with both sides’ contrasting starts to the season, means that this game is Bayern’s to lose. Schalke will have also been dealt a psychological blow after conceding the lead so late to Porto in midweek. 
Predicted Scoreline: FC Schalke 04 0-2 Bayern Munich


Picking the Best Potential Bayern Munich Lineup to Face FC Schalke 04 on Saturday

Bayern Munich return from European duties with another victory under their belts. Heading into Saturday’s game with a perfect record under new head coach Niko Kovac, Bayern have won all three of their opening matches in this season’s Bundesliga.

As they travel to Gelsenkirchen aiming for a fourth consecutive league win – against a side they haven’t lost to in Germany’s top division for over eight years – this is how Bayern could line up…

3. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Manuel Neuer (GK) –  After an injury plagued season, the former Schalke academy product will be looking to claim his second clean sheet of the season on Saturday.

Joshua Kimmich (RB) – One of just three outfield players to play every minute of Bayern’s Bundesliga and Champions League games so far this season, Kimmich’s impressive engine means there’s little chance of him being rested. 

Mats Hummels (CB) – Despite only playing once in the Bundesliga this season, Hummels played the full 90 in midweek and should start on Saturday.

Jerome Boateng (CB) – Linked with a summer move to Manchester United and PSG, Boateng appears to revitalised his Bayern career under Niko Kovac – an ever-present alongside Kimmich this season.

David Alaba (LB) – Look, it’s David Alaba. When David Alaba is fit, he starts. 

2. Midfielders

Javi Martinez (CDM) – Yet another versatile option for Niko Kovac. Martinez will be utilised as an attacking threat, but his ability to sit in and protect the back four may be called upon on Saturday.

Renato Sanches (CM) – After his outstanding performance in midweek, Sanches will be looking to continue momentum into Saturday’s match. Don’t be surprised to see his name in the headlines.

Leon Goretzka (CM) – Up against his former employers, Goretzka will be hoping to add to his one goal and one assist in two Bundesliga appearances this season. 

James Rodriguez (RM) – The Colombia international made his first club start since the World Cup on Tuesday night and, despite being taken off before full time, showed more than enough to convince Kovac that he’s ready to play on Saturday. 

Franck Ribery (LM) – The 35-year-old may not be in a position to play a full 90 minutes more than once in a week, but expect to see him for at least an hour. 

1. Forward

Robert Lewandowski (CF) – Seven goals and an assist in Bayern’s first six games of the season, including the Super Cup and an early DFB-Pokal match. Yeah, Robert Lewandowski is an absolute baller – and he’ll be looking to get on the scoresheet after failing to score for the first time this campaign last weekend. 


Bayern Boss Niko Kovac Lauds ‘Special’ Talent Renato Sanches Following Performance Against Benfica

New Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac has heaped praise on midfielder Renato Sanches after his goalscoring performance against former club Benfica on Wednesday night.

With the two sides squaring off at the Estadio da Luz in Portugal for their first Champions League game of the season, Sanches helped Die Roten to a 2-0 win over the Primeira Liga outfit, scoring the second goal in the 54th minute of the match after Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock in the 10th minute.

The 21-year-old spent an unsuccessful loan spell at Swansea City last season, during which he made just 12 Premier League appearances without scoring a single goal. However, he appears to have grabbed this Bayern chance with both hands in a bid to cement his place in the side, chipping in with a goal on his first appearance of the season.

Bayern Muenchen v Paris St. Germain - AUDI Football Summit

“I’m happy,” Kovac told reporters after the win (via Goal). “Like I said in Munich, Renato wasn’t going to be our first option.

“Actually Thiago [Alcantara] should have played, but when we knew he was going to miss the game, I thought it was the right time to let Renato play.

“What he did tonight was special. You could see why he is such a good player in his young age. A player with high technical and physical skills. And then he even scored.’
?Kovac also commented on the Benfica crowd who gave an ovation to their former star Sanches at the end of the game.

He continued: “I have to make a compliment to him and the Portuguese supporters, that they gave him applause. You don’t see that very often. That speaks for their favour.”

Speaking on the match itself, Kovac lamented over wasted chances but highlighted the fact that Bayern had gotten off to a good start in the competition.

“We wanted to have a good start in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League.

“We want to go far in the Champions League. We have to stay focused, we know we’re being hunted by everyone.”


Team of the Round: Picking an XI of the Best Performers on Gameweek 1 of the Champions League

The greatest club competition on earth made its highly anticipated return this week, and as expected, threw up a whole shed load of drama and stunning goals as Europe’s best did their thing. 

We saw Real Madrid embark on their first Champions League match without Cristiano Ronaldo since 2009, Liverpool humble Paris Saint-Germain, and much, much more. 

In what has been an extremely tough task given the vast amount of exquisite performances across the board this week, here’s the team of gameweek one. 


1. GK: Wojciech Szcz?sny – Juventus

The Polish international now holds the number one jersey in Turin after the departure of Gianluigi Buffon, and based on his performance against Valencia, it will be his for some time. 

Szczesny, formerly of Arsenal, managed to keep a clean sheet despite his side playing over an hour of the game with 10 men after Cristiano Ronaldo’s red card. 

Even more impressively, the Pole managed to preserve his clean sheet even after Valencia had been awarded a penalty, diving smartly to his right to keep out Dani Parejo. 

2. RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

Liverpool’s academy graduate looked set to face one of the toughest tests of his short career when Neymar and Kylian Mbappe rocked up to Anfield, but the 19-year-old dealt impeccably with the £360m duo, while providing a key attacking outlet for the hosts.

Alexander-Arnold completed both of his dribbles, had 91 touches and completed five out of his six tackles, whilst also making 45 passes against the French champions. 

He was crucial in the build up to Daniel Sturridge’s opening goal, and even managed to clip the bar with a free-kick late on. 

Seriously accomplished stuff. 

3. CB: Abdou Diallo – Borussia Dortmund

A £25m summer arrival from Mainz, Abdou Diallo has taken to life at Borussia Dortmund, and the Champions League, like a duck to water. 

The Frenchman, who captains the France Under-21 side, was imperious on his debut in Europe’s greatest club competition against Club Brugge, making nine recoveries. 

He completed more accurate long balls (11) than any other player in gameweek one, whilst also recording a clean sheet as well as almost getting on the scoresheet. 

Not bad for a 22-year-old. 

4. CB: José Giménez – Atlético Madrid

The Uruguay international was at his dominant best against Monaco on Tuesday night, helping his side come from behind to beat the Ligue 1 side. 

Gimenez scored what turned out to be the winning goal when he met Koke’s corner with a thumping header in first half stoppage time. 

The 23-year-old marshalled the Ateti backline admirably, so much so that Monaco didn’t even look like getting an equaliser. 

5. LB: Nicolás Tagliafico – Ajax

Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico became the first defender to score a double for the Dutch giants since Frank de Boer back in 1995, a stat which I’m sure he’ll be proud of. 

The Argentine’s two goals, including a wonder striker (misjudged cross) from the left wing, saw his side record a dominant victory in their opening Champions League game. 

6. CDM: Tanguy Ndombele – Olympique Lyon

This kid is special. 

Tanguy Ndombele ran the show against Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Manchester City side, putting in a man of the match display as Lyon recorded a 2-1 victory. 

The 21-year-old had an 83% passing accuracy, made two tackles, won five of his six duels and completed three accurate long balls. 

Ndombele also made two key passes, including a stunning, defence splitting ball to Memphis Depay which say the Dutchman hit the post. 

7. CM: Renato Sanches – Bayern Munich

Like Tanguy Ndombele, another 21-year-old bossed the midfield in the Champions League this week, but Renato Sanches’ story has a different romance about it. 

The Portugal international moved away from Benfica to Bayern in a £35m deal two years ago, but had tailed off significantly. 

A failed loan move to Swansea last season looked to spell the end of his Bayern career, but he has been resurgent under Niko Kovac. 

On his return to his boyhood club, Sanches scored his first Bayern goal against his old club, whilst dominating the midfield with his powerful running. 

Oh, and he also got a standing ovation from both sets of supporters. 

8. CM: James Milner – Liverpool

Like a fine Ribena, James Milner is simply getting better and better with age. 

The 32-year-old continued his fine form from the previous Champions League campaign – in which he set a new record for assists – with a goal against the French champions. 

Milner also completed 86% of his passes, and made a game-high five tackles, including the one high up the pitch on Kylian Mbappe that led to Roberto Firmino’s last gasp winner. 

Oh, and he dumped Neymar onto the turf, much to the satisfaction of the Anfield faithful. 

9. CAM: Paul Pogba – Manchester United

When he’s up for it and on song, Paul Pogba is just about the best midfielder in the world.  

With the captain’s armband around his arm and Jose Mourinho’s trust bestowed in him, the World Cup winner put in a scarily good performance against Champions League debutants Young Boys. 

His first goal was a contender for the tournament’s goal of the season award even at such a premature stage of the competition, whilst his 26-step penalty oozed control and swagger. 

10. ST: Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Do I even need to write anything? 

The GOAT recorded a record eighth Champions League hat-trick with his treble against PSV Eindhoven, opening the scoring with a phenomenal, but delicate free kick. 

Amazingly, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s 16 goals in Champions League matchday one fixtures is an all-time high. 

We really are running out of superlatives for this man, so much so that nobody has even batted an eyelid at yet another hattrick. 

11. ST: Gareth Bale – Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo is no more at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Spanish capital needs a new hero. Step forward, Gareth Bale. 

The Welshman, with his emphatic strike against Roma, now has 10 goals in his last 10 games for Los Blancos. 

His goal on Wednesday evening put him level with Ronaldinho on 18 Champions League strikes; esteemed company, no doubt about that. 


James Rodriguez Explains Five-Finger Gesture to Benfica Fans in Bayern Munich Win

?Bayern Munich star James Rodriguez confirmed that the five-finger gesture to Benfica supporters who whistled at him on Wednesday night was a reference to his Porto past.

Rodriguez made his first start of the season at the Estádio da Luz and provided the cross for Renato Sanches’ goal as Bayern got their Champions League campaign off to a winning start with ?a 2-0 victory.

The Colombian played for Benfica’s Portuguese rivals Porto between 2010 and 2013, and he received a hostile reception from the home fans on his return to Lisbon.

The boo boys were in full voice when ?Rodriguez was replaced by Leon Goretzka after 79 minutes, but he mocked them with a five-finger gesture in reference to Porto’s 5-0 win over Benfica in 2010.

“It was 5-0 seven years ago, but I think it’s nothing special,” Rodriguez said, quoted by ?O Jogo.

“I do not like being whistled, but it’s a normal thing.”

The 5-0 result was Porto’s biggest win in O Clássico since 1996, and their biggest ever league win over Benfica. Rodriguez was brought on as a late substitute in that match, having signed for the club just a few months before.

Robert Lewandowski scored the first goal of the game on Wednesday as ?Bayern went second in Group E with a comfortable victory.

Group leaders Ajax, who beat AEK Athens 3-0 in their opening match, visit the Allianz Arena in a fortnight.