Schalke vs. Bayern Munich: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
The Bundesliga returns to action with a mouth-watering encounter between Champions League challengers Schalke and Bayern Munich on Saturday afternoon. Both sides hope to apply their success in Europe to this domestic showdown and pick up the vital three points.
Schalke began their fight for Group E dominance with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday night in a game that coach Jens Keller will undoubtedly be pleased about. The win over the Romanian visitors was Schalke's fourth in a row as the Gelsenkirchen club enjoy a rare purple patch this early in the season.
In a similar manner, Bayern also won their opening game in the Champions League during the week as they took on CSKA Moscow and ran out 3-0 winners.
Although Bastian Schweinsteiger as well as a whole host of others were unable to make the grade due to injury, the current European champions marched on regardless to an astounding victory in the Allianz Arena. A vital win in Pep Guardiola's plan for world domination.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 21, 17:30 p.m. GMT (11:30 a.m. ET)
Where: Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen
Watch: BT Sport 1 from 17:30pm
Schalke player to watch: Kevin-Prince Boateng
It comes as no surprise that the most influential member of Schalke's squad at the moment is indeed the one player who hasn't had enough time to settle in yet. Kevin-Prince Boateng, the flamboyant Ghanaian No. 10, has been in outstanding form for Schalke since his shock move from Milan three weeks ago.
In his first three games for the Gelsenkirchen club, Boateng has scored two goals, with his last one coming earlier this week against Steaua.
Of course it isn't just goals that Boateng brings to the side. His sheer physicality, whether it be his incredible pace or impressive aerial ability, is an excellent quality to have in the centre of Schalke's attack and a key feature in any plan Keller has to stop Bayern.
Bayern player to watch: Mario Mandzukic
Although Bayern are a side that undoubtedly dance to the tune of either Franck Ribery or Schweinsteiger, of late it has been Mario Mandzukic who has stood out with his exquisite solos. With four goals in five games for the Bavarians this season, the Croatian striker sits atop of the club's goalscoring charts and a firm part of Guardiola's new plans for the squad.
Many would argue that it isn't hard to score a conclusive amount of goals with the service that Ribery and company provide on a weekly basis, yet what Mandzukic offers Bayern is much more than just a simple poacher in the box.
His all-round game is invaluable to the team's tactics, and as Jupp Heynckes picked up on very quickly last season, Mandzukic is the first line of Bayern's defence with his tireless closing down and desire to chase every ball. He disrupts defences with his tackles just as often as he does with his goals, and that's why Schalke will have to be so wary of this star striker.
In the past six meetings between these two sides Bayern Munich have won each and every game, scoring a total of 19 goals to Schalke's one. It's no secret that Schalke are an inferior side with very little going for them at the moment aside from a few positive results, which pales in comparison to the might of Bayern's collected talent on and off the pitch.
However, this side have made a habit of disrupting the Bundesliga's top three in the past.
While they are by no means challenging on the same level, by taking six points off Dortmund last season as well scoring a victory against high-flying Leverkusen in Gelsenkirchen less than two weeks ago, if any side in Germany's top division could upset one of the big clubs this weekend, it would be Schalke.
Yet Pep Guardiola will be insistent that his squad doesn't give Dortmund any more ground in the race and while Jurgen Klopp's side travel to Nurnberg on Saturday afternoon, Bayern will be determined to wrap up all three points in Gelsenkirchen the night before.
The heart may well say Schalke for this one, but it's a resounding vote of confidence for Bayern from the brain.
Schalke 04 1 - 3 Bayern Munich
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