Bundesliga Preview: Schalke - Bayer Leverkusen
The host can inflict its 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. Both Ralf Fahrmann and Lars Unnerstall remain sidelined with a knee ligament and shoulder injury respectively, 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 defense.
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, having missed the entire season, but will be firmly behind Bernd Leno in the pecking order, following the 20-year-old's impressive 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 quarterfinalists. Vedran Corluka is back in training, though Lars Bender and Michael Ballack both have muscle complains.
||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 has scored 11 goals in its last three games, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bagging five of those strikes.
- The Veltins Arena has been a productive stadium for Bayer Leverkusen - the visitor has lost just once in its last Bundesliga 12 visits to Gelsenkirchen.
- Stefan Kiessling (right) has scored four goals in his last five league games.
- Robin Dutt's side has lost its last two matches, but is yet to lose three games on the trot this season.
Top 3 Predictions
Schalke 04 2-1 Leverkusen
- 23.57 %
Schalke 04 3-1 Leverkusen
- 23.57 %
Schalke 04 2-0 Leverkusen
- 12.14 %
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||Aug 31, 2013||Schalke 04 2 - Leverkusen 0|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||Apr 13, 2013||Schalke 04 2 - Leverkusen 2|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||Nov 17, 2012||Leverkusen 2 - Schalke 04 0|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||Mar 24, 2012||Schalke 04 2 - Leverkusen 0|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||Oct 23, 2011||Leverkusen 0 - Schalke 04 1|
|Dec 15, 2013||Schalke 04 2 - Freiburg 0||BUN|
|Dec 11, 2013||Schalke 04 2 - Basel 0||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Mönchengladbach 2 - Schalke 04 1||BUN|
|Dec 3, 2013||Schalke 04 1 - TSG Hoffenheim 3||GERC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Schalke 04 3 - Stuttgart 0||BUN|
|17||Jefferson Agustin Farfán||Striker|
|19||Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi||Striker|
|20||D. da Costa||Defender|