The 2. Bundesliga season kicks off on Friday night with a clash between promotion hopefuls Schalke 04 and Hamburg (7:30pm kick-off, UK time).
Schalke finished bottom of the Bundesliga last season with just three wins from 34 games, while Hamburg could only manage a fourth-placed finish in the second tier.
Schalke vs Hamburg live stream:
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Is Schalke vs Hamburg on TV?
- GER: Sky Sport Bundesliga 1
- UK: N/A
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Schalke 1-1 Hamburg
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Schalke vs Hamburg build-up, previous line-ups & team news:
For the first time since 1991, Schalke will play their football in the second tier this season after suffering relegation to round off what has been a spectacular fall from grace for one of Germany’s biggest clubs. Now under the management of Dimitrios Grammozis,the club’s seventh head coach since the start of 2019, Die Königsblauen have overhauled their squad and will want their stay in the second tier to be as short as possible.
They’ll certainly not want to befall the fate of Hamburg, who are playing in the 2. Bundesliga for the fourth consecutive season after succumbing to their first relegation in 2018. The 1983 European champions didn’t get close enough to the promotion hunt last season but, once again, head into the new campaign as one of the promotion favourites. A win for either side on Friday night would send a serious message out to the rest of the division.
- Schalke (vs Vitesse): Fahrmann*; Thiaw, Flick, Kaminski; Palsson; Ranftl, Latza, Mikhailov, Ouwejan; Terodde, Bulter.
- Hamburg (vs FC Basel): Fernandes; Gyamerah, Schonlau, Kinsombi, Glatzel, Reis, Jatta, Wintzheimer, Leibold, Meffert, David.
Matthew Hoppe is on international duty with the United States and Rabbi Matondo has a knee injury, while goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann is also unavailable for this match.
As for the visitors, Stephan Ambrosius, David Bates, Sonny Kittel, Tom Mickel and Josha Vagnoman will all miss this opening match with various injury concerns.
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Grammozis ‘prepared’ as Schalke sail into uncharted waters
It’s been a long time since Schalke played second-tier football so it only seems fitting that former Bundesliga ever-presents Hamburg — who have struggled to climb back up to the precipice — are their first 2. Bundesliga opponents.
Grammozis has been hard at work gearing up his squad for a promotion push this summer and insists his side are “prepared” for what lies ahead. But he also admits the bullseye that has been on Hamburg’s forehead over the past few years is now likely to be passed to Schalke as the newcomer heavyweights.
“We have to prepare ourselves for a league in which the games against us will probably be the highlight for many clubs,” Grammozis said.
“HSV, who have held this role recently, have played against these clubs a few times now. Schalke, on the other hand, are uncharted territory for some or long-forgotten foes for others. That’s why we’ll have to take on a different role.”
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