Ruhr giant Schalke 04 face off against Bayern Munich when they welcome the Champions in Veltins Arena in the German cup. It is game two of the Lewandowski-less era, so to speak, as the serial goal-getter nurtures an injury the coming month. With both Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig knocked out of the competition, Schalke 04 are one of the few remaining sides who potentially possess enough quality to challenge the Bavarians.
They are certainly not in the best shape of their campaign though. There are rumblings concerning coach David Wagner, after going down 5-0 to RB Leipzig in their most recent home match. They followed that up by getting hammered 3-0 in Cologne on Saturday. Bayern absolutely swept aside David Wagner’s men with ease two times this season. They took a 5-0 beating in Munich in January while losing 3-0 at home in August. Courtesy of three goals from a certain Robert Lewandowski. Of course, he won’t hit the target Tuesday evening, but it is not as if Bayern missed him at the weekend.
Bayern is on a roll
They steamrolled TSG Hoffenheim at the weekend with four goals inside the first 33 minutes. Bear in mind it was the same Hoffenheim team that won the away match against Bayern back in October. Revenge was sweet in the end with Bayern coming away 6-0 winners. Without their top scorer but with Joshua Zirksee celebrating his first start with a goal after 15 minutes. He could get another start here with Lewandowski absent.
Bayern-coach Hansi Flick stated in a press conference that he wanted to keep changes to a minimum. If he sticks to his words Joshua Zirkzee will once again to the top, supported by a trio of Philippe Coutinho, Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry. The latter has had a great season so far, while Müller has really found his form lately.
Hansi Flick has not put a foot wrong during his time as boss of Bayern. They are currently enjoying a two-month-long unbeaten run. Along with getting the favourable results, the former assistant national team coach has got the team playing some impressive football. It is extremely difficult to make a case for Schalke 04 apart from the obvious “it is a cup tie, anything can happen”.
They are experiencing a disappointing run after the winter break sitting sixth in the Bundesliga. It will take a special effort from them to qualify for Champions League next season. Their cup run has been impressive until now though. So we are rooting for an entertaining encounter at the Veltins Arena.