Schalke will improve but not yet
Schalke are in absolute disarray. Since the return of football after the COVID-19 enforced break they have picked up two points from a possible 33, heavily contributing to the sacking of David Wagner to which felt like it was a long time coming. They began the season arguably even worse than they ended it losing 8-0 to Bayern Munich and then 3-1 to Werder Bremen which was the final nail in the coffin. Werder came into that match off the back of a 4-1 loss at home to Hertha Berlin making it a battle of two under pressure gaffers and Florian Kohfeldt prevailed. RB Leipzig are understandably heavy favourites.
Leipzig are as short as 1.25 with many bookmakers to take three points from this and to be honest to me that seems a big price given the way the two sides are playing. Despite losing talisman Timo Werner, Julien Nagelsmann’s side have gone on to reach a Champions League semi final and look just as reliable to finish in the Bundesliga’s top four once again. Yussuff Poulsen continues to lead the line to great effect and with a new compliment of young attacking players, they could build up a cricket score on Saturday.
Schalke have invested in attacking areas in the window, signing Vedad Ibisevic as a free agent and Goncalo Paciencia on loan. The latter and Portugal international is an outstanding coup if they can keep him fit, he was excellent at the start of last season for Eintracht Frankfurt before fading away into insignificance and failing to compete for a first team place up front amidst good form from Andre Silva. Ibisevic is a sensible acquisition, someone that will have a positive effect in the dressing room, passing on his experience in the division to this group of young players. If they can arrest the slide, they should pull away from the drop soon and improve on last season’s 12th place finish.
Alexander Sorloth is the main striking reinforcement after slamming the goals in on loan at Trabzonspor in the Super Lig, despite failing miserably in a Crystal Palace side crying out for a goal getter he will be hoping to adapt to the Bundesliga a lot better than he did the Premier League. Hwang Hee-Chan comes in from RB Salzburg to continue that supply line and broke his duck in the cup versus Nurnberg.
The resurgence of Emil Forsberg and Amadou Haidara has seen the Leipzig offensive contingent innovate again, producing results that suggest they will hammer managerless Schalke.