Schalke vs Gladbach – Thursday 20:05 GMT/21:05 CET Arena Auf Schalke – Gelsenkirchen.
Despite a rich history of German-German European matches, the recent Europa League draw that will see Schalke 04 face off against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the round 16 in the Europa League, has caused some consternation in Germany. Both clubs later stated that the opposition was not their dream draw.
Schalke 04 head coach, Markus Weinzierl, told the media after the draw, “This is not the sort of draw that we wanted, because it doesn’t feel like an international game. At least we won’t have to travel far.” Schalke sport director, Christian Heidel, echoed Weinzierl’s statement: “I also don’t feel that this is the sort of draw we hoped for. This matchup doesn’t sound like a Europa League game. The only positive is that it will be a short trip, and that we know each other. We are looking forward to two exciting games, but we would have liked to travel further abroad.”
Given the fact that Germany used to be a divided country, German clubs are no strangers to playing German-German European duels. The matchup between Schalke and Gladbach will be the 36th German-German matchup in a UEFA competition (read the full history of inner German duels here).
The match on Thursday will be the second game in three meetings between the two clubs in just 12 days. The two clubs already met on Saturday night for the Bundesliga top game, in which Gladbach dominated in the second half and deservedly won the game 4-2.
Gladbach and Schalke are both stuck in the middle of the Bundesliga table. This means that the cup competitions are the only way for both teams to qualify for European football next season. And, while Gladbach could still qualify for the Europa League via the DFB Pokal, Schalke were recently eliminated by Bayern München in the quarterfinal, which means, for die Knappen, the Europa League is the only path to European football next season.
With this in mind, Schalke will perhaps, of the two clubs, be the more motivated to advance. But Gladbach have been far more consistent and showed, on the weekend, that they are the more in form side of the two.
Schalke vs Gladbach – Players to look out for:
Leon Goretzka has been a real revelation this season. The midfielder was converted from a defensive midfielder to a playmaker by Schalke head coach Markus Weinzierl in the first part of the season. Goretzka can often be found roaming right behind two nominal strikers, but also on either wing. His athletic ability means that Goretzka can have a devastating effect on defensive lines.
Lars Stindl has been Borussia Mönchengladbach’s most important player in the Rückrunde (find his full profile here). Furthermore, Stindl was key in Gladbach’s famous comeback win against Fiorentina in the round of 32 against Fiorentina. Stindl scored a hat trick in the Fowls 4-2 win against the Italians.
Schalke vs Gladbach – Match Stats
- Borussia Mönchengladbach have taken on German opponents in 14 UEFA games with the record W9 D2 L3.
- Gladbach have had wins in all seven of their home matches against German teams.
- Schalke lost their only all-German UEFA tie to Magdeburg (then representing East Germany) in the second round of the 1977-78 UEFA Cup, going down 4-2 away and 3-1 at home.
- Gladbach have experienced extreme swings of fortune in their last six European away games (W3 L3), alternating defeats in which they conceded four goals, with wins by two-goal margins: 2-4, 3-1, 0-4, 2-0, 0-4, 4-2. Should that pattern continue, they are due to concede four in Gelsenkirchen.
- UEFA Cup winners in 1997, Schalke last reached the quarterfinals in 2011-12, when they lost out to Athletic Club.
- Two-time UEFA Cup winners, Gladbach have made it to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League for the first time. They have not reached a European quarterfinal since losing out to Feyenoord in the 1995-96 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Schalke vs Gladbach 2-1
Fährmann – Badstuber, Nastasić, Höwedes – Kehrer, Bentaleb, Stambouli, Goretzka, Schöpf – Caliguri, Burgstaller
Manager: Markus Weinzierl
Sommer – Wendt, Vestergaard, Christensen, Jantschke – Dahoud, Kramer – Johnson, Herrmann – Raffael, Stindl
Manager: Dieter Hecking