Bayern Munich v Schalke 04 - Bundesliga Preview

 @TWRowland  on February 07 2013 4:38 PM

Bayern Munich welcome Schalke 04 to the Allianz-Arena on Saturday, with the two sides in contrasting forms.

 

Bayern are currently unbeaten in eleven Bundesliga matches, whereas Schalke have only won once in nine. That form is why Bayern are a staggering 22 points clear of the Gelsenkirchen side.

The impressive form of Bayern this season has seen them pull away at the top of the Bundesliga, they currently have a 12 point gap to second place Borussia Dortmund.

One reason for their superiority this season has been the influence of Mario Mandžukić and Thomas Müller. The two have a combined total of 25 goals and nine assists. Their partnership has been ruthless in attack as Bayern have amassed a total of 51 goals in just twenty Bundesliga matches. They have only conceded seven.

Dante has played a huge role in that defence. The Brazilian won his first cap for the Seleção in midweek against England, just reward for an outstanding season so far with the Bavarian giants.

Contrary to the form of Bayern, Schalke are in turmoil. Last weekend saw the Royal Blues succumb to defeat against bottom of the table Greuther Fürth, at home. It was another disappointing defeat for a team that should be challenging within the Champions League places; they currently sit seven points behind that coveted fourth place spot.

Bayern defeated Schalke in the previous meeting this season, 2-0, with Müller getting on the score-sheet that day.

Schalke will not be buoyed by the news that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ciprian Marica are out through injury. Teemu Pukki looks likely to come in and lead the line. The visitors will also be without suspended left back Christian Fuchs.

As for Bayern, Xherdan Shaqiri joins long term absentee, Holger Badstuber, on the side lines.

Despite the midweek international fixtures, Bayern should be comfortable against a Schalke side lacking in belief.

Follow Tom Rowland via Twitter @TWRowland