Schalke vs Leverkusen by Gustav
Schalke looked quite solid and maybe deserved something more last weekend when they visited RB Leipzig which is the biggest surprise of the season, but still stood defeated with a 2:1 result. It needs to be said that somehow it wasn't their day, since they entered the match with a penalty kick for opponent in second minute when the hosts took the lead via Werner.
However, visitors equalized in 31st minute with a goal from Kolasinac, but the same player conceded an own goal at the start of the second half and even though Schalke had more of the ball possession in the repetition, they couldn't find a way to level up the result again. This defeat broke their run of three victories in Bundesliga, as the team continues to be ninth at the table, having eight points less than Europa League placed Dortmund and need to search for a victory here. They suffered 2:0 loss in a game of Europa League during the midweek where the team had no competitive motive and rotated the squad, since they already secured the first position with five previous victories.
Schalke is set to play in 3-5-1-1 formation with Choupo-Motig as striker, plus Meyer as offensive midfielder. Central defender Benedikt Howedes (13/0) is suspended for this one and his place should be taken by Sascha Riether. Forward Breel Embolo (7/2) is injured, same as towering striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (7/1). Right back Atsuto Uchida is still unfit and remains probably sidelined, from the start of the season anyway. Manager Markus Weinzierl has no reason to change the team much.
Leverkusen is having quite poor first part of the season and the team doesn't seem to be able to really change the things around, at least not at this moment. They come from a home draw against Freiburg 1:1 last weekend which was their third game without a victory, followed by previous two defeats.
Guests took the lead first in 31st minute with a goal from Haberer, while players of Leverkusen had more of the ball possession, but struggled to create really concrete goalscoring chances. Calhanoglu leveled up the result and the hosts continued attacking, however the result never changed even though they missed a penalty kick towards the end. Now teh team stands at tenth position, with the same number of points as their today's opponent. Still, they reacted well during the midweek, taking important 3:0 victory over Monaco that secured them the second position at the table which will lead them to the knockout phase at Spring 2017.
Visitors from Leverkusen will be playing in 4-4-2 formation with Kiessling and Chicharito as forwards. Right back and sometimes midfielder Lars Bender (8/0) is injured, as well as offensive midfielders Admir Mehmedi (11/2), Kevin Kampl (12/1), Karim Bellarabi (2/1) and forward Kevin Volland (9/0).
- Schalke have scored at least 3 goals in their last 4 home matches (Bundesliga).
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 9 of Schalke's last 11 home games (Bundesliga).
Open game is what I expect from this match, since Schalke seems to be in good offensive form and remains a favorite here, however Leverkusen is so close to a must win situation and can't wait behind the ball. Three goals or more should come even easier than what the bookmakers think.