Schalke - Hamburg Preview: Both sides look to curb their winless runs in Gelsenkirchen
The two teams meet with both currently going through poor runs of form, but Thorsten Fink's men boast a formidable record at the Veltins Arena
By Enis Koylu
Hoger, Metzelder, Matip, Fuchs
Obasi, Raul, Draxler
Diekmeier, Westermann, Bruma, Jansen
Sala, Rincon, Kacar, Ilicevic
Huub Stevens' dearth of defenders is set to continue, with Kyriakos Papadopoulos ruled out of the contest with Hamburg thanks to his red card in last weekend's loss to Freiburg. Benedikt Howedes is still missing with a hamstring problem, but there is good news in the form of Christoph Metzelder's return to fitness.
Lars Unnerstall and Ralf Fahrmann are both still missing through a shoulder injury and a torn anterior cruciate ligament respectively, leaving Timo Hildebrand to continue his first-team run in goal.
Upfront, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is back in training after missing the last two games through a concussion sustained on international duty, while Teemu Pukki is available again after being cup-tied for the Europa League trip to Twente.
Hamburg are without a number of players of their own for this encounter. Dennis Aogo will miss the game with a tight calf, leaving Marcell Jansen to drop back and fill in at left back.
David Jarolim has accumulated five yellow cards and will accordingly be unavailable through suspension, as will Paolo Guerrero, who was dismissed in last week's loss to Stuttgart and will serve an eight-game ban.
Tomas Rincon is a doubt, having missed training this week thanks to a calf problem of his own, but Gokhan Tore is likely to fill a space on the bench after his return to fitness.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Schalke have won seven of the 10 matches they have played after being involved in European exertions during midweek.
- The hosts have scored at least one goal in each of their last nine Bundesliga home fixtures.
- Raul (right) needs just one more goal to become the sixth foreigner to score 25 Bundesliga goals, and the second Spaniard to do so.
- The Veltins Arena has been a happy hunting ground for Hamburg - they have not been beaten in Gelsenkirchen since 2004.
- Despite failing to win any of their last three games, Thorsten Fink's men are unbeaten in their last eight away games.
- Hamburg have scored just 28 goals after 24 games this season. They have managed fewer than that figure on only two occasions.
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Top 3 Predictions
Schalke 04 2-1 Hamburg
- 18.52 %
Schalke 04 3-0 Hamburg
- 17.28 %
Schalke 04 3-1 Hamburg
- 12.35 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Jan 26, 2014||Hamburg 0 - Schalke 04 3|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Aug 11, 2013||Schalke 04 3 - Hamburg 3|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Apr 28, 2013||Schalke 04 4 - Hamburg 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Nov 27, 2012||Hamburg 3 - Schalke 04 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 11, 2012||Schalke 04 3 - Hamburg 1|
|Apr 11, 2014||Schalke 04 2 - Eintracht Frankfurt 0||GER1|
|Apr 5, 2014||Werder Bremen 1 - Schalke 04 1||GER1|
|Mar 28, 2014||Schalke 04 2 - Hertha BSC 0||GER1|
|Mar 25, 2014||Borussia Dortmund 0 - Schalke 04 0||GER1|
|Mar 22, 2014||Schalke 04 3 - Eintracht Braunschweig 1||GER1|
|19||Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi||Striker|
|8||Tomás Eduardo Rincón||Midfielder|
|18||Tolgay Ali Arslan||Midfielder|
|13||Per Ciljan Skjelbred||Midfielder|
The biggest cause for optimism for Schalke fans ahead of this tie is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's probable return. With the Dutchman on the pitch, the Huub Steven's men look an entirely different side, especially with Ciprian Marica struggling for form and Teemu Pukki's inexperience of top-level football.
|Tolgay Ali Arslan|
The 21-year-old has been enjoying an extended run in the first team of late, and could firmly stamp his place in his coach's plans with a match-winning performance against the likes of Schalke, and fend fend of competition from his team-mates.
Neither of these teams can buy a win at the moment. While Schalke will be boosted by likely return of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, their resources are stretched to the brink, and playing a large portion on Thursday's trip to Twente with 10 men will have done nothing to alleviate that. Paolo Guerrero will be a huge up front loss for Hamburg, and I can't see them capitalising on Schalke's defensive problems after such a demoralising defeat to Stuttgart last week.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed