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Bundesliga: Schalke and Gladbach Kick Off the New Year!

Schalke 04 vs Borussia Monchengladbach

Both Schalke 04 and Borussia Monchengladbach will look to kick off 2020 in style after a long break in the Bundesliga, and their match is to be held at the Veltins Arena on Saturday.

As of this writing, RB Leipzig still holds the top spot at the table with 37 points. Borussia Monchengladbach are not far behind with 35 and the defending champions in Bayern Munich round out the top three with 33 points.

Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund are currently level at 30 points and a win by either team could elevate themselves into the top three.

The Foals were threatening to break away with the title after leading for the most part this term. However, key losses against Union Berlin and VfL Wolfsburg gave RB Leipzig a rare opportunity to emerge as the new league leaders.

Marco Rose’s men are still in good shape though, as there seems to be a great deal of harmony in their dressing room. There’s no doubt that they have the capability to back on top once more as they try to overcome this setback.

Schalke, on the other hand, haven’t been on full force in their past few games. But team boss David Wagner has done a splendid job in steering his squad to a much better direction this term and that shouldn’t be overlooked as well.

 

Talking Points

Schalke continue to surprise

Die Knappen have been dealt with a tough hand recently as they have been missing some of their key players, according to our Bundesliga 2020 news.

Midfielder Weston McKennie continues to sit out after dislocating his shoulder during their win over Eintracht Frankfurt last month, while goalkeeper Alexander Nubel is still suspended due to an egregious flying kick that he did back in the same game.

Salif Sane and Benjamin Stambouli still remain long-term absentees due to their injuries which hurts their backline.

That leaves someone like Amine Harit to carry much of the load for Die Knappen. The 22-year-old forward leads them in scoring this term with six goals and four assists so far.

Schalke have been doing great this season considering they are historically a mediocre team that fought off relegation last season.

Hiring David Wagner has worked wonders for Die Knappen. His strong yet calm demeanor has helped create a family-like atmosphere that players rave about.

“You feel part of a brotherhood. We might not have a super big-name player but we don’t need one because of the way we work and the good chemistry,” said McKennie in an interview with The Athletic.

Schalke have already raised some eyebrows with their form. And with the way that they’re playing right now even without some of their key players, it’s expected that they’ll finish at least in top five come season’s end.

Gladbach in search for their rhythm

The Foals momentarily held the top spot anew when they defeated the likes of SC Freiburg and Bayern Munich. However, an unlikely setback against VfL Wolfsburg left them falling at the second spot once more.

Bundesliga: Marcus Thuram has been playing well in Borussia Monchengladbach with Alassane Plea, and Breel Embolo
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram celebrates after their match against Padderborn

In the said game, Xaver Schlager scored the first goal in the 13th only to be followed up with a goal from the super-talented Breel Embolo one minute later. However, Maximilian Arnold put on the finishing touches by adding one more for Wolfsburg in added time.

They scored a 2-0 victory against Paderborn in what was an easy match, but they weren’t able to replicate such result against the improving Hertha BSC which ended in a draw.

With the defence laser-focused on stopping the trio of Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, and Breel Embolo, team manager Marco Rose had to draw more production from the other players to continue their roll.

Team captain Lars Stindl proved his worth particularly in their match against Paderborn. The veteran forward scored off of a penalty at the 67th minute after being put in as a substitute.

Especially with Ramy Bensebaini out due to a muscular injury, perhaps Rose can consider giving more minutes to Lars Stindl and even Oscar Wendt to fill in the gap.

 

History

The Foals have yet to lose to Die Knappen in their previous six meetings (W6, D6), but it’s worth noting that David Wagner’s side have only lost one of their nine Bundesliga home games so far this season.

Schalke have lost 2-0 at home last season against Gladbach and they could suffer back-to-back home defeats against them for the first time in 32 years.

This fixture marks the ninth time that these two sides square off to open the second half of the Bundesliga season.

 

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