Schalke will look to keep pace with league leaders Bayern Munich when Werder Bremen visit the Veltins Arena. At the end of the day, they could end up anywhere from four to ten points behind the Bavarians.
The Royal Blues' goal scoring has been distributed amongst several players this year. Five players have scored two or more goals, and a total of twelve players have scored at least one goal this year. Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Lewis Holtby, and Jefferson Farfan have scored three each. Last season they relied heavily on Huntelaar, but the more balanced scoring should serve them well as the season goes along.
There are still questions on the backline, and the recent injuries aren't making it any better. Kyriakos Papadopoulos will return to the starting lineup this weekend with three injuries on the backline. They're currently even with Borussia Dortmund for the fewest goals conceded at eleven, but that's seven more than leaders Bayern Munich. If Huub Stevens figures out this defense, Schalke won't only challenge for the league title, but they could challenge in Europe, also.
Bremen retooled their side this summer, and things look good so far. They're up to 8th in the table and occasionally play some great football. The additions of Kevin De Bruyne, Nils Petersen, and Eljero Elia have been entertaining this year. However, it's long time Bremen man Aaron Hunt that has stolen the show for them. The midfielder has five goals and two assists from deep in midfield.
The visitors will have their work cut out for them if they hope to take points away at the Veltins Arena. Schalke will be ready to go, and this match could steal the show this weekend.
Schalke injuries and suspensions
Out: Marco Höger (ankle), Atsuto Uchida (thigh), Christoph Metzelder (groin).
Schalke will be without three defenders this weekend with Höger, Uchida, and Metzelder out. The first two were both hurt in the Champions League match midweek against Arsenal leaving Benedikt Höwedes as the only guy that can play right back on the roster. He'll likely shift out wide with Kyriakos Papadopoulos coming into the middle.
Werder Bremen injuries and suspensions
Out: Clemens Fritz (groin).
Clemens Fritz is a lock starter on this team, but they can cope without him.
Match Date/Time: 3:30 p.m. local, 9:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
TV: No US Television