Schalke resume their fight against relegation when they travel to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday (5:30pm kick-off, UK time).
The Royal Blues are now on their third permanent manager of the season, with former Tottenham Hotspur and Grasshopper manager Christian Gross taking over the responsibilities for the New Year.
Where to watch Hertha Berlin vs Schalke on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: ESPN+
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Scoreline prediction: Hertha Berlin 2-0 Schalke
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Hertha Berlin vs Schalke build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Hertha Berlin haven’t been in the best of form this season, currently sitting 14th with three wins from their opening 14 games. They are just three points clear of the relegation play-off place as things stand, and have particularly struggled at home.
The capital club have won just five points from their opening six games, losing three times, though their sole win did come in the Berlin derby against local rivals Union at the start of December.
Hertha will fancy their chances of adding to that win this weekend when they welcome the Bundesliga’s basement club Schalke. The visitors are the only team in the Bundesliga yet to win this season, managing just two draws from their opening 13 games. David Wagner and Manuel Baum have both been sacked for their struggles, with Gross the latest to try his luck at keeping Schalke up.
However, the hosts may want to be mindful that the last team to lose to Schalke were in fact Hertha, knocking them out of the DFB-Pokal at the start of February.
- Hertha Berlin (vs Freiburg): Schwolow; Pekarik, Boyata*, Torunarigha, Mittelstadt; Guendouzi, Stark, Darida; Lukebakio, Piatek, Cunha.
- Schalke (vs Arminia Bielefeld): Fahrmann; Stambouli, Sane, Kabak, Oczipka; Serdar, Mascarell; Schopf, Boujellab, Mendyl; Raman.
Hertha Berlin will be without captain Dedryck Boyata for the visit of Schalke, with the centre-back suffering a foot injury. He is joined on the sidelines by Santiago Ascacibar and Mathew Leckie, while Jhon Cordoba and Eduard Lowen are doubts.
Schalke are still without Nabil Bentaleb, Kilian Ludewig and Goncalo Paciencia. Nassim Boujellab, Omar Mascarell and Salif Sane all have knocks but could still play a part. Vedad Ibisevic has left Schalke, while new loanee Sead Kolasinac is not expected to feature.
Players to watch:
- Hertha Berlin: After falling out of favour at Arsenal over the summer, Matteo Guendouzi was sent on loan to Hertha Berlin, and he has started to find some form in Germany. The French midfielder started life in the Premier League with a bang, seamlessly slotting into the Gunners’ midfield following his arrival from Lorient but questions over his temperament saw Guendouzi lose out. Although Hertha are by no means flying this season, Guendouzi has been using this season to remind fans of what he can do, quickly becoming a regular starter. Recently named by Mesut Ozil as one of the most under-rated players he has played with, Guendouzi will be hoping he can make 2021 his.
- Schalke: The strugglers have been terrible at both ends of the pitch, scoring fewer goals and conceding more than any other team in the Bundesliga. The first thing Gross will need to do, is to improve the defence, and he’ll need Ralf Fahrmann to step up. The 32-year-old is Schalke’s first-choice goalkeeper, but has missed a portion of the season so far due to injury, only recently returning before the break. But his record is poor. In just six appearances so far this season, Fahrmann has conceded 19 goals and has a save percentage of 42.42%, the worst in the Bundesliga. Now’s the time for him to turn it around.
Bundesliga 2020/21 recent form:
- Hertha Berlin: LDWWD
- Schalke: LLDLL
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