Domenico Tedesco: We’re coming up against a very strong opponent

The Royal Blues face Frankfurt and in the Bundesliga and Köln in the DFB-Pokal in the final two games of 2017. Schalke are looking to finish the year on a high, cementing their place in the Champions League spots, while reaching the quarter-finals of the cup.

The Royal Blues face Frankfurt and in the Bundesliga and Köln in the DFB-Pokal in the final two games of 2017. Schalke are looking to finish the year on a high, cementing their place in the Champions League spots, while reaching the quarter-finals of the cup.

Schalke come off the back of an entertaining 3-2 win against Augsburg, one of the surprise packages of the season. Domenico Tedesco’s men are now up in second with 25 points, only two ahead of this weekend’s opponents, Frankfurt, who lie in seventh.

“Frankfurt are doing really well this season. They’re conceding few goals and are very difficult to play against,” said Tedesco. “Eintracht defend well, together as a team.” SGE haven’t just been strong in defence though. “They move quickly up the pitch and are deadly in front of goal. We’re coming up against a very strong opponent,” said Tedesco.

The table only matters on the final day. I'm pleased for the fans that we have so many points on the board already but we can't let it affect us.

Domenico Tedesco

The game will mark a return for Kevin-Prince Boateng, who played for Schalke between 2013 and 2015. “He’s one of their many good players. Kevin-Prince is playing very well, but Frankfurt aren’t just about one player.”

The Royal Blues would guarantee a top-four place going into the winter break with a point against Frankfurt. “We know what the situation in the league is. Every training session we’re working towards picking up more points. All our games have been tough – they’re decided by the smallest of margins,” emphasised the 32-year old. “The league table only matters on the final matchday. It’s nice for the fans to have so many points, but we don’t let it distract us.”

The head coach will have all the players who played against Augsburg at his disposal. Alessandro Schöpf may also make a comeback. “He’s fit again and has been making a good impression. There could definitely be a change to the starting XI, but we’ll wait till the last training session to make the decision.”

Match stats

In five of the last six Bundesliga matches in Frankfurt, Schalke haven’t breached the Frankfurt backline – prior to that was a 3-3 thriller in November 2013.

After Bayern, Frankfurt have the best defence in the league.However, they have conceded in their last 11 Bundesliga matches.

Bastian Oczipka moved to Schalke from Frankfurt last summer. He featured 146 times in the Bundesliga for his former side and scored twice.

Schalke are ten games unbeaten with five draws and five wins which is the second longest run in the league behind Leverkusen.

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