FC Bayern Munich: Crisis Stricken Schalke Visit the Allianz Arena
In football, crisis stories appear almost everyday. Yet, to find a crisis story such as Schalke's would be hard work on anybody's part.
The Royal Blues appeared rather tired towards the end of the past calendar year. Results stopped going their way. Eventually, they dropped out of the top four. And then, Horst Heldt, took a quick decision. He decided to fire Huub Stevens.
While sacking Stevens was perhaps not the worst decision after the DFB Pokal exit at the hands of Mainz in December, the hiring of Jens Keller perhaps was.
For Schalke fans who dislike Heldt, their hatred might also be fueled by the general manager's failure to tie down Lewis Holtby to a long term contract. Holtby was let go for a meager price in January when Schalke could have tied him down earlier and released him for a price which matched his talents.
Going back to the current coach of Schalke, Keller was previously the manager of Stuttgart. Needless to say, things did not go well for him there. Keller is not the gruff kind of manager which Thomas Tuchel or Jurgen Klopp is. He quietly goes about his work. Unfortunately, his work so far has yielded only one truly positive result- a win over Hannover, 5-4.
Schalke had two easy and definitely winnable fixtures on the past two match-days. The bottom two sides in the league were the opponents. The Gelsenkirchen side only managed to pick up a point against Augsburg. Last week, the unthinkable happened. They lost to Greuther Furth. Keller has received a vote of confidence already.
This week, they travel to Munich. Bayern last week initially had a difficult time breaking down Mainz. The first forty minutes was a fairly even encounter. One chance for Thomas Muller, set up by a brilliant ball from Toni Kroos, saw the flood gates open.
Muller scored; Mario Mandzukic added two further strikes in the second half. The assists for Mandzukic's goals came from both of the wing backs. David Alaba provided a brilliant assist for the first of the two while Philipp Lahm set up the second with a great cross.
Mainz was the toughest test of the second half of the season so far; Bayern passed with flying colors. Jupp Heynckes is yet to rotate the line up this year. He might consider doing so this time as the likes of Muller featured for their countries in midweek.
The most concerning issue last week was perhaps the storming off of Arjen Robben at full time. However, he was not heard giving any interviews criticizing Bayern.
As far as injuries are concerned, Bastian Schweinsteiger is a doubt. An ankle problem ruled him out of Germany's friendly against France. For Schalke, serial goal-getter Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is out. Holger Badstuber, a long term injury victim, continues to be out of action. This will perhaps be the lineup for this clash for Bayern:
Philipp Lahm- Dante- Daniel Van Buyten- David Alaba
Javier Martinez- Luiz Gustavo
Thomas Muller- Toni Kroos- Franck Ribery
Finally, Holger Badstuber is set to sign a contract extension at Bayern. His current contract which expires in 2014 is set ti be extended until 2017.
Prediction: Bayern 2-0 Schalke
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