Attention turns to the DFB-Pokal this week as Wolfsburg and Schalke go head-to-head in a third-round clash on Wednesday at 5:30pm (UK time).
This is the first time either side has faced Bundesliga opposition in this season’s competition, with Wolfsburg beating Union Furstenwalde and SV Sandhausen to reach this stage, while Schalke have made it past 1. FC Schweinfurt and Ulm so far.
How to live stream Wolfsburg vs Schalke online:
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Where to watch Wolfsburg vs Schalke on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: ESPN 3
Scoreline prediction: Wolfsburg 3-1 Schalke
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Wolfsburg vs Schalke build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
After winning their last three games without conceding a single goal, confidence is sky-high in the Wolfsburg camp right now, with Oliver Glasner’s men rising to third in the Bundesliga, just three points adrift of RB Leipzig in second.
Die Wölfe haven’t won a major trophy since triumphing in this competition back in 2015 and given their current form, there will be a real hunger among players and supporters to go all the way this season.
Standing between Wolfsburg and a place in the quarter-finals is Schalke, who have won this competition five times, most recently in 2011.
However, given they sit bottom of the Bundesliga table with just one win from 19 games to their name so far, you could forgive Christian Gross’ men for pushing this game down their list of priorities.
- Wolfsburg (vs Freiburg): Casteels; Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio; Schalger, Arnold; Baku, Gerhardt, Steffen; Weghorst.
- Schalke (vs Werder Bremen): Fahrmann; Becker, Kabak, Nastasic, Kolasinac; Stambouli, Mascarell; Schopf, Uth, Harit; Hoppe.
Daniel Ginczek and Jeffrey Bruma are out for Wolfsburg, but Renato Steffen returned to action against Freiburg at the weekend.
Kilian Ludewig, Steven Skrzybski, Goncalo Paciencia and Frederik Ronnow are sidelined for Schalke while Salif Sane is a doubt. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar could start after coming off the bench against Werder Bremen on Saturday.
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Players to watch:
- Wolfsburg: Although he’s had to be patient for Bundesliga minutes, Yannick Gerhardt has undoubtedly made the most of his chances in the DFB-Pokal this season. The 26-year-old midfielder has found the net in both of Wolfsburg’s wins in the competition so far in 2020/21, accounting for two of his three goals across all competitions. That said, he finally got off the mark in the Bundesliga last week, scoring the third goal to round off a 3-0 win over Freiburg. Gerhardt will feel like he’s done more than enough to earn another start in this cup game and given Schalke’s horrendous defensive record this season, he’ll be relishing the opportunity to add another goal to his tally.
- Schalke: Matthew Hoppe has understandably stolen the headlines recently, scoring five goals in six games since the New Year. However, Wednesday night’s match is likely to see Klaas-Jan Huntelaar come into the starting XI in order to give Hoppe a breather. Huntelaar scored 126 goals in 240 appearances during his first spell with Schalke and recently rejoined the club from Ajax to try and help save them from relegation, making his second debut from the bench against Werder Bremen on Saturday. Huntelaar’s record of 13 goals in 15 DFB-Pokal games is rather impressive, and Gross would be grateful if the Dutchman can add to that here to fire them into the next round. Everyone at Schalke could do with that sort of confidence boost.
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