Bundesliga Preview: Bayern Munich-Schalke

After enjoying a great start to 2012-13, Die Knappen are enduring a rotten run of form, and the Bavarians will hope to take advantage and further extend their lead at the summit.

Lahm, Dante, Van Buyten, Alaba
Martinez, Schweinsteiger

Muller, Kroos, Ribery

Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Fuchs
Jones, Neustadter
Farfan, Draxler, Bastos

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has seen Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic become key figures in his side since they were given regular first team starts and the two look likely to start again on Saturday.

The Bavaraians are likely to name an unchanged team for the fourth consecutive Bundesliga fixture, a selection that would mean Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben are relegated to a place on the bench.

An eye injury suffered while on international duty with the Netherlands is almost certain to keep Klaas-Jan Huntelaar out of action for Schalke's visit to the Allianz Arena. Finnish youngster Teemu Pukki, so far used sparingly during 2012-13, is the favorite to replace the club captain up front. Julian Draxler is another doubt after returning from the Germany camp with a severe cold, but he is still in with a chance of starting.

  • Bayern retains its iron grip on the Bundesliga standings with 14 games to play, sitting an incredible 12 points clear of closest challenger Borussia Dortmund. 
  • With 51 goals scored it is also comfortably the league's most prolific outfit, averaging a total of just over 2.5 a match across the 20 fixtures played so far.
  • Top scorer Mario Mandzukic (right) has converted five in his last three outings for Bayern, and also netted for his native Croatia in midweek to extend his scoring run to four consecutive games.
  • Schalke's campaign has been a tale of two halves. After opening with seven wins in its first 11 games, the following nine yielded five defeats and just one victory to see the club slip down to sixth.
  • Die Knappen have won the Bundesliga a total of seven times; however, their last championship success came all the way back in 1957-58.
  • Current coach Jens Keller has been in charge since Dec. 16, taking over from the sacked Huub Stevens.