Lahm plays down doping impact

The Germany international feels there are certain aspects to football you cannot improve upon, yet insists that the matter cannot be ignored

Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm has stressed that football should take the doping problem seriously, but believes performance enhancing drugs are less effective in football than in other sports.

The likes of cycling and sprinting have been plagued by doping scandals in recent years and Lahm feels it would be wrong to think there is no use of prohibited substances in football.

“I am not naive when it comes to doping. There have already been doping cases in football and this could happen again,” the Germany international told Spiegel.

“There is a big difference with other sports, though. Understanding of the game and technique are vital in football and you cannot improve those areas by using doping.

“It’s reassuring that you can play football at the highest level without the use of doping.

“I am all in favour of fair play and against cheating in any form. I would be perfectly fine with it if an anti-doping law would be put into place.”

Lahm underwent six doping tests during Bayern’s treble winning 2012-13 campaign, two of which were unannounced and conducted at his home.

Neuer: Schalke won't be a walkover

The Germany international believes the Gelsenkirchen side will prove to be a tough opponent in Saturday’s Bundesliga match

Manuel Neuer has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates that Schalke will not be pushovers in Saturday’s Bundesliga encounter.

The reigning German champions currently sit second in the league table with 13 points from five games, while the Gelsenkirchen side have to settle for 10th spot with just seven points, yet Neuer believes that Schalke will pose a stern test for Bayern.

“We can’t expect it to be a walkover,” Neuer told the official Bayern website.

“I think it will be a challenge to beat Schalke, especially considering they’re on a roll.

“We know Schalke are performing very well at the moment, so we have to do everything we can to win this game.

“If we think it will be a simple kick-about, we’ll be shown how wrong we are.”

Saturday’s match at the Veltins Arena kicks off at 18:30CET.

Boateng eyes sibling bragging rights

The midfielder will face his defender brother on Saturday and has his eyes firmly set on claiming victory

Schalke midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has revealed he is desperate to inflict defeat on brother Jerome in Saturday’s clash with Bayern Munich.

The Ghana international only moved to Gelsenkirchen in a €12 million deal a matter of weeks ago but has wasted little time in making an impact by scoring twice in his first three games.

The 26-year-old will have a further opportunity to continue his good form when Schalke host reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern on Sunday and Boateng has his eyes set on more than just the three points.

He told Bild: “We go out with a broad chestready for Bayern! I hope that I can claim victory in my duel with my brother Jerome!”

Julian Draxler, who turned 20 on Friday, has set his own personal target for the weekend – getting one over on former S04 team-mate Manuel Neuer – who is yet to concede a goal against Schalke since moving to Bayern in 2011.

He added: “It would please us all, when Manuel has to pick up a few balls out of the net. Hopefully I can celebrate that at my birthday party!

Schalke sit in ninth spot ahead of the game with seven points from five games while Bayern are in second place, two points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Gotze nearing Bayern comeback

The Germany international is expected to resume squad training shortly, while Javi Martinez is on his way back, too

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will shortly be able to call upon the services of Mario Gotze after a spell on the sidelines for the 21-year-old.

The Germany international picked up an ankle injury in his side’s Super Cup win over Chelsea back in August and has been out of action ever since.

Nevertheless, the former Borussia Dortmund star is set to resume regular training action as he is edging ever closer to his comeback.

“Gotze’s currently working out individually with the ball but, if all goes according to plan, he should be able to join in parts of the squad workout in a couple of days,” a statement on the official Bayern website reads.

Meanwhile, Javi Martinez is still some way off making his comeback after groin surgery earlier this month, but the Spain international is off crutches at last and has begun stamina-building running.

“I’m feeling better with every passing day. I hope I can be back helping the team very soon,” the holding midfielder said.

Schalke-Bayern Munich Betting Preview: Expect the reinvigorated hosts to run the champions close

After a difficult start to the season, Jens Keller’s men have found their feet in recent games and Al Hain-Cole expects them to push their formidable visitors all the way

Schalke will be looking to record their first win over Bayern Munich in almost two years when they welcome the champions to the Veltins-Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Die Konigsblauen have lost their last six consecutive matches against their prestigious opponents by an aggregate scoreline of 19-1 and are clear 9/2 (5.50) outsiders to end that miserable run with a victory.

Pep Guardiola’s men are undefeated in 30 league fixtures and find themselves heavy 8/15 (1.53) favourites to collect their 25th win since suffering their last defeat almost one year ago.

However, the European champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg in their last away match, and you can get odds of 10/3 (4.33) on them dropping another two points in Gelsenkirchen.

After a difficult start to the season that saw them draw at home against Hamburg and Champions League opponents PAOK while losing away to both Wolfsburg and Hannover, Jens Keller’s side have finally found their feet and are looking more like the team that finished the last campaign strongly to secure a top four spot.

A hard-fought win with 10 men in Salonika to seal their place in the Champions League group stages seemed to fill the side with confidence, prompting a run of three consecutive victories without conceding a goal.

The first of those three saw Keller’s side end Bayer Leverkusen’s 100 per cent record, the second was at Mainz’s notoriously tricky away ground and the third was a comprehensive 3-0 Champions League win over Steaua Bucharest, so spirits will undoubtedly be high as they prepare to welcome Bayern.

Although Die Roten look every bit as formidable this season as during the previous all-conquering campaign, they have struggled slightly to unlock defiant home defences on the road, managing just a single goal in Frankfurt and Freiburg respectively.

With three consecutive clean sheets under their belt, Schalke will fancy their chances of keeping things tight, and odds of 27/20 (2.35) on the game producing under 2.5 goals are not to be missed.

Not only would that bet would have paid out in the reinvigorated hosts’ last two Bundesliga matches, but also each of the visitors’ last four, so certainly seems under priced when they go head-to-head.

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.