Following the international break, the Bundesliga returns Friday night when Schalke 04 host Bayern Munich. It has all the makings of an entertaining matchup, Jack Grimse brings you three reasons why:
Royal Blues seeking revenge
New Schalke 04 manager Markus Weinzierl’s honeymoon period may already be over after the shock 1-0 opening day defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt. Schalke haven’t beaten Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga since 2010 (’11 in the DFB-Pokal), and will be hoping to please the home crowd at the Veltins Arena with three points to get them out of the doldrums of the league table.
Late signings look to make impact
Yevhen Konoplyanka was signed on deadline day, and is tasked with filling the hole left behind by Leroy Sané’s departure. Nabil Bentaleb joined on 25 August, only appearing as a sub against Frankfurt two days later. Look for both to make full debuts for die Königsblauen.
Bayern, on the other hand, got their transfer business done early and made far fewer transactions. Mats Hummels is settling in nicely, but Jérôme Boateng’s return from injury has been delayed, meaning the centre back pairing of Bayern Fans’ dreams will have to wait a little longer to be seen in action.
Ancelotti attempting to establish title-winning pace
Nothing like the international break right after the first matchday to stunt the rhythm found in a 6-0 win, eh? Well, Thomas Müller found the back of the net twice for die Mannschaft on Sunday in a 3-0 win over Finland. Robert Lewandowski scored for Poland as well, so Bayern’s prolific forwards seem to be in fine form. An added bonus for new boss Carlo Ancelotti is the fact that Philipp Lahm should be fresh since he’s retired from the national team now.
Ancelotti will stick with his 4-3-3. If he elects to make any changes from the side that beat Werder Bremen 6-0, it could mean Joshua Kimmich coming in at right back, bumping Lahm to midfield. Arturo Vidal may miss out, having been in South America for World Cup Qualifying matches with Chile and faces a long flight. Renato Sanches may also be a debutante.
Weinzierl went with a 4-2-3-1 in the loss to 1-0 Eintracht, but expect him to shake things up – at least personnel-wise. He alternated between that shape and the 4-1-4-1 in his time at FC Augsburg, and could elect to go with two banks of four against a much stronger side. Against Frankfurt, he was forced to play Dennis Aogo in defensive midfield, but has more options this time around. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is still the man up top, but for how long? Breel Embolo is bearing down his neck.
If you’re looking to watch the match on Friday (19:30 CET kickoff) it’s on BT Sport 2 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (USA) and Sky Bundesliga HD1/Go (Germany). All of these networks are streaming it as well on their various platforms.
Do Schalke have a chance to pull off the upset, or will Bayern keep rolling? Let us know on Twitter!