Schalke - Bayer Leverkusen Preview: Huub Stevens' men can deal a fatal blow to their opponents' Champions Leauge aspirations
The hosts can inflict their first ever Bundesliga double over Robin Dutt's side and gain a 13-point lead in the race to qualify for Europe's top competition
By Enis Koylu
Uchida, Matip, Papadopoulos, Fuchs
Farfan, Raul, Draxler
Da Costa, Schwaab, Toprak, Kadlec
Castro, Renato Augusto, Schurrle
Having found some consistency in recent weeks, Huub Stevens is expected to name an unchanged team once more.
However, there is still a string of players missing for the Gelsenkirchen outfit. Long-term casualties Ralf Fahrmann and Lars Unnerstall remain sidelined, leaving Timo Hildebrand to continue in goal.
With Benedikt Howedes and Christoph Metzelder both suffering from hamstring injuries, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Joel Matip will retain their berths at the heart of defence.
Similarly, Bayer Leverkusen are expected to name an unchanged side from the one that lost 2-1 to Borussia Monchengladbach last week.
Rene Adler is fit again, but will be firmly behind Bernd Leno in the pecking order following the 20-year-old's impressive run of form since joining the club from Stuttgart.
Another player approaching a return is Sidney Sam, but the 24-year-old will not be fit to start the encounter with the Europa League quarter-finalists. Vedran Corluka is back in training, while Lars Bender and Michael Ballack both have muscle complaints.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- A little under a decade ago, Schalke overcame Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in the DFB-Pokal final.
- Having triumphed 1-0 at the BayArena in October, Huub Stevens' men can complete their first ever Bundesliga double over Leverkusen on Saturday.
- Schalke have scored 11 goals in their last three games, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bagging five of those strikes.
- The Veltins Arena has been a productive stadium for Bayer Leverkusen - the visitors have lost just once in their last Bundesliga 12 visits to Gelsenkirchen.
- Stefan Kiessling (right) has scored four goals in his last five league games.
- Robin Dutt's side have lost their last two matches, but are yet to lose three games on the trot this season.
Top 3 Predictions
Schalke 04 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
- 23.57 %
Schalke 04 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen
- 23.57 %
Schalke 04 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen
- 12.14 %
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||15-Feb-2014||Bayer Leverkusen 1 - Schalke 04 2|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||31-Aug-2013||Schalke 04 2 - Bayer Leverkusen 0|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||13-Apr-2013||Schalke 04 2 - Bayer Leverkusen 2|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||17-Nov-2012||Bayer Leverkusen 2 - Schalke 04 0|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||24-Mar-2012||Schalke 04 2 - Bayer Leverkusen 0|
|08-Mar-2014||Schalke 04 4 - TSG Hoffenheim 0||BUN|
|01-Mar-2014||Bayern 5 - Schalke 04 1||BUN|
|27-Feb-2014||Schalke 04 1 - Real Madrid 6||UCL|
|22-Feb-2014||Schalke 04 0 - Mainz 0||BUN|
|15-Feb-2014||Bayer Leverkusen 1 - Schalke 04 2||BUN|
|17||Jefferson Agustin Farfán||Striker|
|19||Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi||Striker|
|20||D. da Costa||Defender|