Bundesliga Preview: Bayern Munich v Schalke
By Football News
Bayern Munich represent daunting hosts on Saturday for a Schalke side seeking to bounce back from a mauling at the hands of Real Madrid.
The Gelsenkirchen outfit were subjected to a humiliating 6-1 thrashing by Real on Wednesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.
Schalke had entered the fixture in confident mood, with Real having won only once in 25 previous visits to German opposition.
Yet Real are not top of La Liga by accident and a scintillating display from the Spanish side, which saw Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo all score twice, has seemingly put paid to any hopes Schalke have of reaching the quarter-finals.
Life is not likely to get any easier for Jens Keller's men when they travel to the Allianz Arena to face runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern.
Pep Guardiola's charges have been simply unstoppable in Germany's top flight this season, and their relentless march towards a defence of the Bundesliga title shows no signs of being slowed.
The unbeaten Bavarians have dropped points on just two occasions this term thanks to a mix of irresistible attacking displays and defensive solidarity, highlighted by the fact Bayern boast comfortably the best offensive and defensive record in the league with 61 goals scored and just nine conceded.
Bayern may have swept opponents aside this term but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was rested last weekend, has warned his team-mates not to underestimate the club he started his career with.
"Schalke are always a strong opponent. You know you have to be careful and you will never win easily against them. We are highly motivated and we need to have the right attitude for the match," he said.
Prior to their heavy defeat against Real, Schalke had displayed excellent form, winning five times in an unbeaten run of league games spanning seven matches.
However, Schalke have lost six games in a row against Bayern without scoring, conceding at least four in the previous three meetings between the teams.
Thomas Muller misses out for Bayern this weekend due to a hamstring injury, while the game could come too soon for Franck Ribery (thigh) and Xherdan Shaqiri (hamstring).
Schalke forward Julian Draxler made his first start since December against Real after an ankle injury and was able to complete the full 90 minutes.