Jens Keller's side is a point behind its visitors heading into the Veltins-Arena showdown and knows it has to win to qualify for the next round.
Schalke must defeat Basel on home soil on Wednesday night in order to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Gelsenkirchen outfit occupies third spot in Group E and saw its hopes of progression dented by a 0-0 draw at Steaua Bucharest in matchday five.
Basel, by contrast, climbed into second with a 1-0 victory over group leaders Chelsea and head into this pivotal encounter one point ahead of their hosts.
Both teams could still overhaul Chelsea, which welcomes Steaua to Stamford Bridge, to win the group, yet Basel needs only a point to be sure of qualifying.
History is against the Swiss outfit, however, as it has won just three times in 14 attempts against Bundesliga opposition in UEFA competition.
Basel's last visit to Germany in the Champions League ended in humiliation, as Bayern Munich overturned a 1-0 first-leg defeat in the 2011-12 round of 16 with a thumping 7-0 victory.
Schalke can also take heart from claiming victory against Basel on October 1, with a fine half-volley from Julian Draxler settling that encounter.
Jens Keller's charges are looking to reach the knockout stages for the fourth time in seven campaigns, having topped their group for the last two seasons.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones is suspended after collecting three yellow cards, while Dennis Aogo, Marco Hoger and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar are all sidelined with knee injuries.
Schalke will expect Jefferson Farfan to provide its main attacking threat. The Peru international has scored five goals in six games since returning from six weeks out with a groin injury.
Swiss Super League leaders Basel have no fresh injury worries and are unbeaten since August, with the exception of Schalke's victory in the reverse meeting.
However, four of Basel's last five domestic games have ended even, including a 1-1 draw with Grasshopper on Saturday.