It is damage limitation time for Schalke, who following a Champions League humiliation in mid-week, face Bundesliga champions elect Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Following a 6-1 reverse at home against Real Madrid, the last thing Jens Keller will want is a trip to the Allianz Arena.
Bayern, unbeaten all season domestically, are closing in on the title and looking unstoppable, having won 11 in a row and failing to concede in their last six. Schalke have a daunting task on their hands.
Below are the vital statistics you will need to view this game.
|Fixture||Date||Time||Stream Info||TV Info|
|Bayern Munich vs. Schalke||Saturday, March 1||5:30 p.m. GMT 12:30 p.m. ET||Sport.BT.com||BT Sport 1|
The bonus for Schalke is that they do have some talent in their ranks. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the goal of the game against Real, even if it was only a consolation, while Julian Draxler returned from injury to play 90 minutes.
Both will pose a considerable threat to the Bayern defence, who will be wary of their defensive solidity coming to an end.
And one interesting subplot, as reported by Sky Sports, is that Draxler has refused to rule out playing for Bayern in the future:
Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler has refused to rule out the possibility of playing for Bayern Munich. http://t.co/MYeEz2riwI— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 25, 2014
Schalke, currently fourth in the Bundesliga, are part of a mini-league behind Bayern which sees second place down to fifth separated by just four points. They can still finish as runners-up and recorded a 2-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen, the current second-placed side, a fortnight ago to show their pedigree.
But they will have to learn to defend better against top-class opposition, as this WhoScored stat shows:
Cristiano Ronaldo: No other player has had more shots in a CL match this season than @Cristiano did last night vs Schalke (10)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 27, 2014
However, they are 21 points behind Bayern, and the gulf in class is growing.
Bayern have netted 22 without reply in their last six games, but their run in the coming weeks will present coach Pep Guardiola with more of a test than he has faced recently.
Following the visit of Schalke, Bayern face Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen, two more of the top five, as well as hosting Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16 second leg.
They have the quality and the depth to deal with that, though, and Guardiola has been able to rotate his squad in order to keep everyone happy.
Whichever side Guardiola picks, Bayern will have more than enough to deal with Schalke and will continue their procession toward the title. They are a side that has nearly everything, including a manager who is impeccable in his preparation.
They will face, though, a side keen not to be beaten heavily again and may have to play patiently in order to break down Schalke.