After a heavy derby defeat on their return to action, Schalke 04 now host FC Augsburg as the Bundesliga continues.
Group League Table Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Key Stat: Schalke have failed to score in seven of their last ten matches.
Expert Verdict: Two out-of-form teams meet in Gelsenkirchen in what could be a key game for Schalkes hopes to end their recent slump. Defeat to Borussia Dortmund on their return to action compounded their poor results before the enforced break, but they face an Augsburg team who have lost four in a row too. Schalke need to win.
Salif Sane returned to action against Borussia Dortmund last weekend, but Schalke will now be without Amine Harit and Jean-Clair Todibo after both picked up training injuries this week. Ozan Kobak could be fit to return in Todibo’s place, however.
Benito Raman – With Amine Harit ruled out, much will be expected of the Belgian, who has four league goals to his name this season.
Salif Sane – The centre-back’s return from injury did not stop Dortmund dominating last time out, but it is a big boost for the run-in.
Suat Serdar – The midfielder is actually Schalke’s top goal scorer this season in the Bundesliga, having netted seven times in 19 league appearances.
Schalke 04’s return to action ended in a disastrous 4-0 derby defeat away to Borussia Dortmund. They have still not won a Bundesliga match since January, while the loss was also the seventh match in their last ten in all competitions in which they have failed to score.
Defenders:Ozan Kabak, Salif Sane, Matija Nastasic
Midfielders:Jonjoe Kenny, Weston McKennie, Suat Serdar, Bastian Oczipka
Attacking Midfielders:Daniel Caligliuri
Forwards:Benito Raman, Guido Burgstaller
Heiko Herrlich’s first game in charge ended in defeat, but it could be a similar line-up for Augsburg with Alfred Finnbogason still sidelined. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw could slot in at centre-back, however, having returned to fitness himself.
Florian Niderlechner – Leading Augsburg’s goalscoring charts with 11 in 26 league appearances so far this season.
Philipp Max – Son of a Schalke icon, his impact going forward – having scored seven goals – is dulled by him being at left-back, but his potential is clear.
Marco Richter – The playmaker has scored four times this season to continue building his fledgling reputation in the Bundesliga.
FC Augsburg’s return to action ended with late disappointment. Tin Jedvaj’s goal looked to have secured a point at home to Wolfsburg but the visitors won 2-1 in the final minute – Augsburg’s fourth consecutive defeat.
Defenders:Raphael Framberger, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Tin Jedvaj, Philipp Max
Midfielders:Rani Khedira, Daniel Baier
Attacking Midfielders:Marco Richter, Eduard Lowen, Ruben Vargas
Since 2010, Augsburg have won just one of their 18 matches against Schalke, drawing seven and losing ten. Schalke won their previous meeting this season, when Ozan Kabak and Amine Harit scored second-half goals to earn a 3-2 win. Augsburg had previously led on the hour-mark, when Daniel Baier and Alfred Finnbogason scored either side of an own goal. Here are the results of the last five matches:
Nov 03, 2019: FC Augsburg 2-3 Schalke 04
May 05, 2019: Schalke 04 0-0 FC Augsburg
Dec 15, 2018: FC Augsburg 1-1 Schalke 04
May 05, 2018: FC Augsburg 1-2 Schalke 04
Dec 13, 2017: Schalke 04 3-2 FC Augsburg
Leading into the season’s pause, neither Schalke 04 nor FC Augsburg were in good form and both made losing starts to the season’s restart too.
Schalke were always outsiders against rivals Borussia Dortmund, but even then the manner of the defeat should be a concern and they have more injury concerns to contend with this week too.
Just as their defence is getting back to full strength, however, they now need their forward players to start getting back on it too.
Seven matches out of the last ten have ended with them failing to score, and they need to put the record straight this weekend.
Augsburg, on the other hand, have a new manager and nearly ended their losing streak only for Wolfsburg to snatch a late winner last time out.
There were encouraging signs in that game, but ultimately they too have been in a poor run of form and are long due a win.
With Schalke’s front men not setting the world alight, there are unlikely to be many goals in this game – despite the fact there were five when they last met.
But Schalke boast an excellent record in this fixture and they really need to get back to winning ways in the league. This could be their best opportunity.
Schalke 04 vs FC Augsburg Recommended bets with odds
Schalke are favourites to win this match despite their poor recent form and can be backed at 21/20 with Ladbrokes, Betfair and Betway to win.
There may be very little in this match, however, and you can bet against both teams to score at 23/20 with Betfair.
For the same reason, under 2.5 goals could be worth backing at 11/12 with 10Bet.
Benito Raman will be key in Amine Harit’s absence and he can be backed at a best price of 12/5 with Betfair and Paddy Power.
Neither side are in good form, and Schalke’s attacking form suggests there will be little in this, but this is a big opportunity for the hosts to get back to winning ways.
Correct score prediction: Schalke 04 1-0 FC Augsburg
With little competition in the way of other live football, you can watch the action unfold through Bet365’s live streaming service.