Domenico Tedesco: We need to be at the top of our game
Schalke and Bayern Munich both managed to reach the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal in midweek. On Saturday 10th February both sides will meet in the Allianz arena. On paper Bayern are clear favourites: Jupp Heynckes and his side sit 18 points clear at the top of the table and are still unbeaten.
“We are going to Munich with the aim of winning three points,” insisted Domenico Tedesco. “That’s how we approach every game. If we don’t go there with every intention of winning we might as well stay in Gelsenkirchen and save ourselves the trip. We’re 100 percent focused on our opponents and will be prepared for whatever they have to throw at us.”
The Schalke coach expects a spirited performance
The head coach knows that the task he and his Schalke team face will be anything but easy, especially considering that recent results have not gone their way. In fact, in the last 15 games across all competitions the Schalke boys have not been able to celebrate after the final whistle has blown in a game between them and Bayern. The last victory they recorded was on 2nd March 2011 when Schalke beat Bayern 1-0 in the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal. Since then Bayern have won twelve and drawn three against Schalke.
We’ve got to come out the blocks well
“The Bayern team have very intelligent players who always seem to find a solution out on the pitch. They find space and know their game, whether in a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-4-1. They press well and force their opponents to play long,” explained Tedesco. “We need to be smart, lively and fit to be able to withstand Bayern. It’s important that we come out the blocks well.” In this game, the team’s defensive organisation as well as flexibility will be equally as important. “At times we will need to man mark, and at others zonal.”
Matija Nastasic will miss the game due to suspension
It is unlikely that there will be many squad changes from that that was chosen to face VfL Wolfsburg in the midweek DFB-Pokal match. Weston McKennie (medial ligament tear) and Pablo Insua (pericarditis) are both still missing but on top of this Tedesco will have to do without Matija Nastasic. The Serbia international saw red in Schalke’s game against Werder Bremen. Who will replace the 24-year-old is yet to be decided. “We’ve got a few options,” said Tedesco. “We will take a look over the next few training sessions and then decide.
Stats and facts heading into the game
- In the last 18 matchdays, Bayern have scored at least once. Schalke have managed to do the same in the last 15 matchdays, not a bad scoring record for both sides.
- Bayern boast an 18-point gap to the team in second place. This is the biggest gap there has ever been between first and second place in the history of the Bundesliga on matchday 21.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored in all ten home games of the 2017/2018 season for Bayern Munich.