Schalke 04 vs Bayern Munich
Bottom versus top in the Bundesliga – a one-sided Sunday afternoon in Schalke awaits?
Or does it?
For while there is a massive gap between these two sides, one which goes well beyond the 32 points difference in the standings, professional pride could come to the fore this weekend as Schalke look to restore some following one of their most embarrassing days in their recent history – an opening day 8-0 humiliation at the hands of the Bavarians.
With that in mind, it’s naturally hard to envisage anything other than an away win in this one.
It’s also natural to envisage a very demoralised Schalke coming into this encounter.
For so long in midweek, it looked as if they would get at least a point against relegation rivals Cologne.
Then Jan Thielmann netted a winner in the third minute of stoppage time to send Schalke back to the bottom, eight points from safety and a goal difference considerably worse than the sides directly above them.
If there can be any bright shoots for the hosts as they welcome the champions to town, it is the form of American youngster Matthew Hoppe who scored his fifth goal in three matches in midweek.
Until just under a fortnight ago, Schalke had not won a league game for 358 days.
They then recorded their first Bundesliga win in 31 games – to avoid equalling a league record – as 19-year-old scored the first three goals of his senior career.
In the same position, the club has also this week welcomed back Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from Ajax until the end of the season in a boost the Royal Blues’ attack.
The 37-year-old has signed a short-term contract, completing a return to the Veltins Arena, where he spent seven years of his career between 2010 and 2017.
Huntelaar scored 126 goals in 239 competitive appearances for Schalke, helping them win the 2011 German Cup, while he also finished as the Bundesliga’s top scorer in 2011/12 with 29 goals.
Mind you, it will take all of the veteran’s talents – and perhaps his ability to form a partnership with Hoppe – if he is going to help them steer clear of relegation between now and the end of the campaign.
With games against Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Union Berlin – as well as Sunday’s visit of Bayern Munich – to come in the next month for Schalke, any points will feel like gold dust for manager Christian Gross and his side.
As if there weren’t enough concerns, the Swiss boss – Schalke’s fourth manager of the season – will be sweating on the fitness of captain Sead Kolasinac who pulled up late on in the midweek game.
Certainly, the form of Hoppe has given them a glimmer they can survive and preserve a top-flight status that goes back 30 years.
Hoppe and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski are the top scorers in the Bundesliga since the turn of the year having each scored five goals in three matches at the start of 2021.
In a 1-0 success over Augsburg in midweek, Lewandowski netted the all-important goal from the spot to keep Bayern four points clear at the top.
The Pole, on course to break Gerd Müller’s 40-goal season record after hitting his 22nd of the season, has scored in each of his last seven away matches, equalling the Bundesliga record.
No player has ever scored in eight successive matches on the road but Schalke could be the perfect hosts if he is to set yet more records.
Bayern’s number nine has also scored in each of his last 10 meetings with Schalke (13 goals) – also a Bundesliga record.
Even when Bayern aren’t playing well, they still produce Bundesliga highlights and grind out important results – meaning they are overwhelming favourites on Sunday.
After seven straight wins, the last time Schalke managed to take any points off Munich was in February 2017 when again Lewandowski found the net but Naldo’s reply earned them a 1-1 draw in the Allianz Arena.
Schalke’s last win against Bayern came in March 2011 with a 1-0 victory in the DFB Cup.
Overall, Bayern have 55 league victories in their clashes with 28 draws and Schalke triumphing on 18 occasions.
Earlier this season an absolute romp showed why they are the best in the business, although letting a two-goal lead slip recently at Borussia Monchengladbach showed they are not invincible.
|Schalke 04 vs Bayern Munich||Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.61|
|January 24, 22:30 (GMT+8)|
The SBOTOP Bundesliga betting odds are as emphatically one-sided as you would expect them to be.
Bayern can be backed 1X2 @ 1.22 or Asian Handicap -2.00 ~@ 1.93.
Schalke are as far adrift as 1X2 @ 10.50 and Asian Handicap +2.00 @ 1.97.
The draw @ 5.40 shows what a big ask it will be for the hosts.
A re-run of the corresponding fixture last term – Correct Score 0-3 – is available @ 8.50.
Clearly, a shed load of goals are expected when the odds on over 4.00 goals are only @ 2.08 and Total Goals 4-6 is @ 1.94.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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