Schalke's task of regrouping gets even harder this weekend as they travel to the Allianz Arena to take on Bayern Munich. The Bavarians are flying through the Bundesliga campaign so far and have stretched their lead to what looks like an insurmountable twelve point lead. Before we even get into the full preview of the match, let's just say that it's unlikely that Schalke will take all three points.
While Bayern is coming into the match with a few injuries to Xherdan Shaqiri and Holger Badstuber, Schalke have rented an entire ward out at the infirmary. The Royal Blues announced this week that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would be joining Ciprian Marica, Christian Fuchs, Ibrahim Afellay, and Kyriakos Papadopoulos on the "Definitely Out" list heading into the match. Huntelaar suffered a burst blood vessel in his eye that also kept him out of the Netherlands' midweek friendly. Julian Draxler is also doubtful for the match after coming down the the flu midweek.
Both sides have a player that will be doubtful for the match due to a unique reason. Bayern's Claudio Pizarro and Schalke's Jefferson Farfan, along with Eintracht Frankfurt's Carlos Zambrano, were delayed from returning to Germany from Peru. Both players are expected to land in Munich on Saturday, but it's not known if they will be deemed fit to play in the match.
Schalke hit a skid in November and haven't come out of it. Huub Stevens was replaced with Jens Keller, the club's U-17 coach. They've only won one of the four matches under Keller and have continued to slide down the table. If results under Keller don't improve soon, sporting director Horst Heldt should be held accountable and see his job under review.
Heading into Matchday 12, Bayern were only seven points ahead of second place Schalke. Now, as Matchday 21 approaches, Bayern are twenty two points ahead of sixth place Schalke.
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions
Out: Xherdan Shaqiri (ankle), Holger Badstuber (knee). Doubtful: Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle), Claudio Pizarro (later returning from international duty.
Badstuber and Shaqiri are the only two players confirmed to be missing the match for Bayern this weekend. While Schweinsteiger is being listed as "Doubtful" for the match with an ankle knock, he is likely to play. Claudio Pizarro is not expected to land in Munich until Saturday, but it is not known whether he will definitely miss the match or not.
Schalke injuries and suspensions
Out: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (eye), Ciprian Marica (knee), Christian Fuchs (suspended), Ibrahim Afellay (hamstring), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (knee). Doubtful: Julian Draxler (flu), Jefferson Farfan (late returning from international duty).
Boy oh boy. Schalke announced on Thursday that Huntelaar would be joining the long list of players in missing this match. Marica, Afellay, and Papadopoulos are out with injuries, while Fuchs is suspended. Draxler returned from the international break with the flu, and it's not yet known if he'll be healthy enough to dress this weekend. Farfan, like Bayern's Pizarro, won't be landing in Munich until Saturday.
Match Time: 6:30 p.m. local, 12:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
TV: Gol TV (U.S.), Gol TV (Canada), Sky Sport 1 (Germany)
Streaming: William Hill (UK), Sky Go (Germany)