After powering to a second-place finish in the first half of the season, Schalke travel to RB Leipzig on Saturday night (kick-off 18:30 CET/17:30 GMT) in a mouth-watering clash to help kick-off the Bundesliga in 2018.

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Ralph Hasenhüttl is without two key men in Marcel Halstenberg and Emil Forsberg, as his troops have been training at home ahead of the Bundesliga’s return, with a 2-0 win against Czech side Dukla Prague rounding off their break. With only two absentees, Leipzig are feeling relatively good ahead of hosting Schalke, with Timo Werner back in training after being ill over the holiday period.

After their superb first half of the season – which sees them sitting in second place – and a training camp in Benidorm, Domenico Tedesco and Schalke are raring to go. “I feel good about this team,” the German coach said this week, and why should he feel any differently? Only Leon Goretzka and Paulo Insua will miss the club’s first Bundesliga game of 2018 with new signing Marko Pjaca an option to start on his competitive debut.

Watch: Domenico Tedesco’s tactical masterclass at Schalke!

Probable line-ups

Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Orban (c), Upamecano, Bernardo – Keita, Ilsanker – Sabitzer, Kampl – Poulsen, Werner
Absentees: Forsberg (stomach muscle), Halstenberg (broken hand)
Coach: Ralph Hasenhüttl

Schalke: Fährmann (c) – Kehrer, Naldo, Nastasic – Caligiuri, Meyer, McKennie, Oczipka – Harit – Burgstaller, Embolo
Absentees: Goretzka (shin), Insua (ribs)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco

Match stats

  • Leipzig will leapfrog Schalke in the table with a win.
  • Hasenhüttl’s gate-crashing troupe picked up 24 more points than Schalke last season.
  • Leipzig have only lost once at home in the Bundesliga this season – their last outing, against Hertha Berlin.
  • Schalke are unbeaten in 11 Bundesliga games (W5, D6) – their longest run for 11 years.
  • Schalke conceded more goals (six) to opposition substitute players than any other team in the Bundesliga during the first half of the season.
  • Schalke’s Guido Burgstaller and Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer played together at Rapid Vienna.

Click here for the RB Leipzig vs. Schalke MatchCentre!


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