Gladbach vs Schalke – Saturday, September 15, 17:30BST/18:30 CEST – Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
It was a perfect start for Borussia Mönchengladbach. Die Fohlen beat Bayer Leverkusen on matchday 1 in many ways exceeding expectations. Matchday 2, however, was somewhat of a reality check for die Fohlen as Gladbach dropped two points against FC Augsburg.
While Gladbach were efficient against Bayer, they were somewhat mediocre against Augsburg. Hence, what can fans expect on matchday 3? The truth likely lies in-between the two performances. Gladbach have a solid side that thanks to the addition of Alassane Plea finally includes a true centre-forward.
Furthermore, head coach Dieter Hecking finally possesses some decent depth, which means that starters from last season, like Zakaria and Kramer, are no longer guaranteed starters. Denis Zakaria, in particular, has been waiting for his chance in the starting eleven and could be given the start against a physical Schalke side. On the other hand, Florian Neuhaus has been excellent for Germany’s U-21 during the international break and his playmaking ability could be valuable when it comes to breaking down a defensive oriented Schalke side.
Hence, Hecking will have to make some tough choices ahead of the match. But finding the tactical balance between the side that dazzled against Leverkusen and the team that somewhat disappointed against Augsburg will be key.
For Schalke, in the meantime, the only thing that will matter is points. After finishing second last season behind Bayern Die Knappen had a terrible start to this season. On matchday 1 Schalke lost 2-1 away to Wolfsburg and then were soundly beaten 2-0 by Hertha on matchday 2.
It is only the second time that Schalke have lost two in a row under head coach Domenico Tedesco. Last season Schalke lost on matchday 5, and 6 – against Bayern and Hoffenheim – but were then able to remain undefeated for eleven games (W5 D6).
Another defeat would, therefore, mark the first time that Schalke have lost three in a row under Tedesco. Given that the club now face a tough road ahead with seven games in 21 days the time is now to collect some points to swat away any potential talk about a crisis.
The main problem for Tedesco has been that several players are not in their top form. Amine Harit, who was involved in a car crash this summer, Breel Embolo, and new signings Omar Mascarell, as well as Sebastian Rudy, are all key players, but all four are currently struggling to get the best out of their game.
For Tedesco, this will be a key game. Another defeat and Schalke will go into full crisis mode, which could be a major problem heading into a long stretch of games. Gladbach, in the meantime, are the outsiders and the benefit of not having to worry about international football. Hence, Schalke could be looking at their third defeat in a row.
Gladbach vs Schalke – Players to look out for:
Matthias Ginter #28 – Borussia Mönchengladbach
Matthias Ginter was the second most dangerous defender in the Bundesliga last season. The German national team defender scored five goals for Gladbach in 2017/18. Enough to convince Bundestrainer Joachim Löw, who has made Ginter a major part of the national team rebuild. There the centre-back will likely feature as a wing back. “Matze [Ginter] has made a step forward in his development. He came strong out of the World Cup break and had had a strong presence against both Leverkusen and Augsburg. He is both physically and mentally top fit. Also, something that is often overlooked, he is still only 24,” sporting director Max Eberl told kicker on Thursday.
Naldo #29 – FC Schalke 04
The only defender, who has scored more often then Ginter last season was Schalke’s Brazilian Naldo. The 36-year-old scored seven times last year. This season, however, he has been kept off the scoresheet. But Naldo is not just important when it comes to scoring and preventing goals. The Brazilian is also the leader of die Knappen and his presence will be key to get Schalke out of the current slump.
Gladbach vs Schalke – Match Stats
- Gladbach have won 28 times at home against Schalke, only against Bremen did Gladbach win more often at home.
- Gladbach are unbeaten in the last five home matches against Schalke (W4 D1).
- Gladbach’s record against Schalke at home is W28 D10 L7
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Gladbach vs Schalke – 2-1
Gladbach vs Schalke – Lineups
Sommer – Beyer, Ginter, Jantschke, Wendt – Hofmann, Strobl, Zakaria – Hazard, Plea, Johnson
Head Coach: Dieter Hecking
FC Schalke 04:
Fährmann – Sané, Naldo, Nastasić – Caligiuri, Baba – Serdar, Rudy, Bentaleb – Burgstaller, Uth
Head Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.