Schalke's fall from grace to continue?
Two of the 2. Bundesliga’s matchday one losers lock horns in looking to make amends on matchday two with last term’s third placed finishers Holstein Kiel welcoming the still disillusioned Royal Blues of Schalke. The slide is still yet to be addressed at Germany’s third largest club and a concerning 3-1 loss at home to Hamburg on matchday one has continued the negative momentum. Kiel come into this one as narrow favourites, with the market immediately adjusting to just how poor Schalke have been despite dropping down a division. With Matthew Hoppe still away with USA at the Gold Cup, they are lacking inspiration.
Kiel had an excellent 2020/21 campaign and can class themselves unlucky not to have earned promotion to the Bundesliga. After earning a 1-0 win in the away leg of their promotion playoff with Koln it all fell apart quite calamitously. Heading into the home leg a goal to the good, Kiel found themselves 4-1 down at half time, 5-1 at full time, and remaining in the second tier. They made the semi finals of the DFB Pokal as well, knocking out Bayern Munich in the round of 32.
A night that will live long in the memory of all Holstein Kiel fans, going behind to goals by Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane before equalising in the 94th minute to force a penalty shootout, taking it in the most dramatic of fashion 6-5 in sudden death.
Fiete Arp has joined on loan this summer from the German champions for some much needed experience. After a sparkling youth career at Hamburg, Arp has flattered to deceive a touch at the biggest club in Germany and has arrived at the Storks with a point to prove. The 21-year-old led the line in their first match of the season, one to put to the back of his mind as he was substituted after 62 minutes as Kiel were turned over 3-0 at Saint Pauli.
I see all three outcomes a possibility in this matchup so my approach is to get more than one result on side. Siding with Kiel narrowly as for the lead balloon dragging Schalke down, with them yet to address to deadwood on and off the pitch.