Niko Kovac must already be feeling the pressure. For the first time in 10 seasons, Bayern Munich didn't start the season with a win when they drew 2-2 against Hertha Berlin in their Bundesliga opener.
As they travel to face FC Schalke, Bayern are already five points behind Borussia Dortmund and have the chance to close the gap once again to two, but they won't worry about it too much just yet. Schalke, who also started their campaign with a draw, would be happy with even a point against the dominant Bavarians, but Bayern will be looking to make a point against this Schalke side who only narrowly avoided relegation last season.
There are few signs that Schalke will make any headway against Bayern Munich, especially when the defending champions are looking to bounce back from the points they lost last week. If they are to get something form this game, it'll have to be built on their defending, which wasn't too shabby in the opener, but will be tested to it's limit against Bayern.
The game may also see Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic debut for the club, most likely off the bench.
Date: 24 August 2019
Time: 10:00 pm
Live Stream: Hotstar.com
Form Guide (including friendlies):
FC Schalke: L-W-W-W-D
Bayern Munich: W-L-L-W-D
Head to Head:
FC Schalke: 4
Bayern Munich: 25
The FC Schalke attack is less than perfect at the moment. They were toothless in the opening game against Borussia Monchengladbach, which is why Amine Harit plays an important role in this squad. The 22-year-old has shown bundles of talent in fits and starts for Schalke, where he has contributed both defensively as well as offensively. If he can rediscover form for this Schalke side, this season may turn out to be quite different from the last one.
He's likely to play every single game for Bayern Munich this season as long as he's fit. More importantly, in the context of this game, his wing play will be key for Bayern. Schalke defend quite stoutly, and Kimmich's intelligence in attack may be the key to setting free the likes of Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry. If all else fails, he can always bank on Robert Lewandowski's good movement.
Key Match Facts:
Schalke only got 15 points last season out of a possible 51 points in all home games in the Bundesliga, the lowest in the league. By contrast, Bayern had the most points won at home in the league (36/51).
Bayern Munich are unbeaten in their last 18 competitive fixtures against FC Schalke (17 games in the league, 1 in the DFB Cup). They have beaten Schalke in all of their last 7 meetings.Published 24 Aug 2019, 09:13 IST