Here is a preview of the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Bayern München at the VELTINS-Arena on Friday night.
9 September 2016
Kick-off: 20H30 (GMT 2)
Referee: M. Grafe
Assistants: G. Kleve, M. Sinn
Fourth official: F. Willenborg
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Schalke 98 19 27 52
Bayern Munich 98 52 27 19
Bayern Munich 3-0 Schalke 16/04/16 (Bundesliga) Bayern Munich
Goalscorers: R. Lewandowski (54', 65'), A. Vidal (73')
Players to watch:
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is surely the man most worrying the Schalke defenders ahead of this eagerly-awaited tie, following his 30 goals in 32 appearances last season which saw him crowned as the league's top scorer – for the second time in six seasons.
Even more worrying for Benedikt Howedes and Co. is that he kicked off the new campaign with a hat-trick in the 6-0 demolition of Werder Bremen before the international break and has said he is an even better striker under Carlo Ancelotti in Bayern's new system.
Exciting Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches is, meanwhile, set to make his highly-anticipated debut after recovering from a muscle injury. The teenager was sublime for Portugal in their Euro 2016 triumph and fans are eager to see how he slots into a midfield already brimming with talent.
For Schalke, young midfielder Max Meyer is the man on everyone's lips following his exceptional displays for the Germany Olympic team before a seamless transition to the senior set-up in recent matches. He's been at the club for some time, but at 20 years old is now starting to show what he is truly capable of.
New signings Breel Embolo and Nabil Bentaleb are two players with plenty of potential. Embolo proved his goalscoring talents with 20 goals in just 50 appearances for FC Basel over the past few seasons, and was on target for Switzerland in their 2-0 win over Portugal on Tuesday.
Bentaleb, who has been brought in from Tottenham to add some bite in midfield, is a player who certainly brings with him a combative mentality.
Team form and manager quotes:
Bayern come into this tie on the back of that 6-0 win last time out where Franck Ribery, Xabi Alonso and Philip Lahm added to goals from Lewandowski. That result followed a 5-0 hammering of Carl Zeiss Jena in the DFB Pokal after Munich overcame rivals Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in their Super Cup clash.
Schalke, meanwhile, were shock 1-0 losers to Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening encounter – which far from having a negative effect on the team, may well just motivate them further ahead of facing the league champions.
Ahead of the clash, Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl told the club's official website: "We have analysed and worked off the game (loss to Frankfurt). Now we are looking forward.
"Bayern at the moment are the biggest test possible and showed virtually no weaknesses in the Super Cup against BVB and the 6-0 win over Werder Bremen. Still, our aim is to get on the scoresheet. We have a plan in place and are ready to put up a real fight.
"There are two possible approaches for us to take for the game: either sit deep, or try to push higher up and put the opposition under pressure. We must be powerful, aggressive, tough, compact and eager to fight for a good result."
Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti reserved just a few words for this match when he said: "I think it's going to be a difficult match. They lost the first match, so they will be even more motivated.
"Playing Schalke is always difficult. And they have a great stadium, a fantastic atmosphere. We'll give it our all and try to win."
Ancelotti has almost a fully-fit squad to choose from with Douglas Costa and Sanches both fit although Costa is unlikely to start ahead of Thomas Muller, Ribery or Lewandowski, but Sanches could play with Arturo Vidal only returning from international duty on Thursday.
Weinzierl will be without Franco Di Santo (muscular problem) while Naldo is doubtful with a back problem.
New signings Benjamin Stambouli and Yevhen Konoplyanka look set to make their debuts, while Bentaleb could start after coming off the bench against Frankfurt.