Sitting just outside of Bundesliga top 4, RB Leipzig will attempt to boost their Champions League hopes by defeating second-placed Schalke in their first match of 2018.
The Miners weren’t too impressive at the end of 2017, winning just one of last five league games, but they probably wouldn’t mind sharing spoils with their top 4 rivals.
RB Leipzig are definitely no one season wonders and they have plans to establish themselves as one of Bundesliga’s leading sides.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have done pretty well this season, climbing to fifth in the league standings, and the winter break definitely came at the right time.
Namely, RB Leipzig had picked up mere two points from the final four games in 2017 and they will be hoping to return to winning ways this weekend.
It has to be noted that the Red Bull Arena outfit managed to score exactly 2 goals in each of their last four home games, albeit winning just two of those matches (D1 L1).
Key forward Emil Forsberg continues to miss out through injury, but Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen should be fit to play.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Gulacsi – Klostermann, Orban, Upamecano, Bernardo – Sabitzer, Keita, Ilsanker, Kampl – Werner, Y. Poulsen.
Schalke are enjoying one of the most successful campaigns in recent years, as they finished the first part of the season second only to champions Bayern Munich.
However, with a total of six teams breathing down their necks, the Miners face a tough task in an attempt to secure Champions League qualification.
Schalke did win just one of their last five league fixtures, but managed to hold Borussia Dortmund, Borussia M’gladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt to draws on the road, which is a decent achievement.
A 2-2 home draw with FC Koln was probably their only slip up in recent months and the players, therefore, have reason for optimism ahead of the clash with RB Leipzig.
Schalke are also missing a key member of the side as Leon Goretzka is unavailable for selection, but new signing Marko Pjaca could start.
Probable starting line-up (3-1-4-2): Fahrmann – Stambouli, Naldo, Nastasic – Meyer – Caligiuri, Harit, Pjaca, Oczipka – Di Santo, Burgstaller.