Schalke-Bayern Munich Preview: Bavarians aiming to punish hosts in poor form

Pep Guardiola’s men are yet to show their destructive side in 2014-15 but will be hopeful that Saturday’s trip to Gelsenkirchen will see them unleashed

Bayern Munich will be looking to return to their impressive best when they face a Schalke side on Saturday who have endured a woeful start to the season.

Although a trip to the Veltins Arena is usually one of the tougher assignments in German football, Bayern will surely feel like they are playing Jens Keller’s men at the right time.

Schalke’s were first dumped out of the DFB-Pokal by third-tier Dynamo Dresden before then opening their Bundesliga campaign with a loss at Hannover.

Left-back Sead Kolasinac suffered a serious knee injury in the defeat at Hannover and he has joined a lengthy Schalke injury list that also contains the likes of Jefferson Farfan, Atsuto Uchida, Leon Goretzka and Fabian Giefer.

Bayern are also far from full strength, with Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara all absent, while it might be too soon for new €28 million signing Mehdi Benatia to make his full debut. Meanwhile, it is uncertain whether Xabi Alonso will be registered on time for the match.

Rafinha is battling an ankle injury and Franck Ribery is still carrying a knock, meaning that the likes of Gianluca Gaudino and Sebastian Rode could play a part again.

Both featured in Bayern’s 2-1 win over Wolfsburg that opened the Bundesliga season last week, with Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben scoring for the Bavarian giants, who were lucky to claim all three points. Wolfsburg’s Junior Malanda somehow missed an open goal in the dying stages, denying the visitors an equaliser.

Guardiola’s men were far from their free-flowing best on that occasion and he will demand an improvement in Gelsenkirchen and, with the hosts struggling, Bayern will be confident of coming away from one of their trickier fixtures of the season with all three points.

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