The last six weeks have been eventful for Bayern Munich in the best possible way. After a disappointing September, Julian Nagelsmann managed to get Bayern’s title defense back on track in October and November. The German coach will be looking to go into the World Cup break on a good note by defeating Schalke on Saturday.
Bayern will be travelling to Schalke on the back of an emphatic 6-1 win against Werder Bremen on Wednesday. With every passing matchday, Die Roten is getting better in the final third and giving very little breathing space to the opposition. Schalke is currently bottom of the points table, losing four of their last five games. However, they did manage to break the losing streak on Wednesday against Mainz. It will take a monumental effort from the home side to stop Bayern on Saturday.
Sadio Mane has been included in Senegal’s World Cup squad despite getting injured on Tuesday. The 30-year-old forward will reportedly miss the World Cup, but Senegal is still holding on to the hope of a quick recovery. Meanwhile, Thomas Muller will miss the game against Schalke as he recovers from a hip problem.
Matthijs de Ligt will travel to Schalke with the squad after recovering from a minor muscle injury. Alphonso Davies is expected to be fit for the World Cup, but he will not recover in time to play against Schalke. Bouna Sarr is the long-term absentee for the defending champions.
Predicted Starting XI
Manuel Neuer is expected to start in the goal against Schalke. The German goalkeeper got minutes under his belt in the last two games after three weeks on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury. However, Neuer couldn’t get clean sheets in both games. He will be looking to get the clean sheet on Saturday and end Hinrunde on a good note with Die Roten.
Benjamin Pavard has done well in the heart of defense during the last few games, but he may have to make way for Matthijs de Ligt in this position on Saturday. Dayot Upamecano will partner the Dutch defender, while Noussair Mazraoui and Lucas Hernandez will slot in the full-back positions.
Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are expected to form the midfield partnership against Schalke. Both have performed exceptionally well in the current unbeaten run of 12 games across all competitions. Nagelsmann will be hoping that Die Roten is in a commanding position in the second half to give game time to other midfielders.
In the absence of Mane, Leroy Sane is expected to start on the left flank against Schalke. Serge Gnabry will be looking to extend his good run of form when he starts on the right flank. Jamal Musiala will operate in the number ten role, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will lead the attack.
Schalke 1-4 Bayern Munich
Despite winning the game against Mainz on Wednesday, it is difficult to imagine Schalke stopping the in-form Bayern on matchday 15. The home side may get the odd goal, but Die Roten should be running away with three points in a comfortable victory.