Schalke 04 take on Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga’s Saturday evening fixture.
The hosts’ return to Germany’s top flight ended in defeat last weekend, while Gladbach began their new era under Daniel Farke with a win.
Schalke’s first game back in the Bundesliga began in miserable fashion when Dominick Drexler saw red against his former club FC Koln for a studs-up tackle after only 35 minutes, putting Frank Kramer‘s side in a precarious position on day one.
Goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow did his best to keep the scoreline level with a fine save before half time, but it was inevitably one-way traffic after the break as defender Luca Kilian tapped in from close range to break the deadlock.
Schwolow fumbled from a cross to allow Florian Kainz to double the hosts’ lead, before Koln wrapped up a 3-1 win through Dejan Ljubicic‘s late header after Marius Bulter had briefly provided hope of an unlikely comeback.
Kramer will be demanding that his side keep their cool and stay in the game as long as possible against Gladbach on Saturday, with the support of the home fans likely to be crucial if they are to gain a positive result.
Indeed, after thrashing Oberachern 9-1 in the DFB-Pokal in Farke’s first competitive game in charge of the club, Gladbach opened their Bundesliga season with an impressive 3-1 win at home against Hoffenheim.
In truth, another early red card hugely benefitted Die Fohlen, with Stefan Posch mistiming two tackles on Florian Neuhaus and Ramy Bensebaini to receive his marching orders inside 19 minutes.
The visitors defied their one-man disadvantage when Robert Skov fired through Yann Sommer‘s arms from close range, but Bensebaini crucially levelled the proceedings three minutes before half time with a delightful overhead kick.
More gaps began to appear in Hoffenheim’s reshuffled backline after the break, and one man who can punish those is Marcus Thuram, who was fresh off the back of scoring a hat-trick in the aforementioned cup rout.
The France striker added to his tally with a well-placed finish into the far corner, before Nico Elvedi made sure of the three points late on as Farke’s army went marching on ahead of their trip to Gelsenkirchen.
Schalke will be without the suspended Drexler after his red card against Koln.
Bulter is likely to replace him on the right flank having scored from the substitues’ bench in the defeat, while Simon Terrode may lead the line as Kramer looks to shake things up.
Gladbach, meanwhile, will travel without Lars Stindl and Hannes Wolf due to muscle injuries.
After a fine result last week, Farke is unlikely to make any changes to his starting XI, especially with defender Marvin Friedrich still doubtful with a knock.
Schalke 04 possible starting lineup:
Schwolow; Brunner, Yoshida, Kaminski, Ouwejan; Krauß, Kral, Zalazar; Bulter, Terrode, Mohr
Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Scally, Itakura, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Neuhaus, Kone; Hofmann, Thuram, Plea