MX23RW : Tuesday, May 18 13:29:30| >> :600:360914:360914:
Apr 17, 2021 at 2.30pm UK at Mage-Solar-Stadion
SchalkeSchalke 04
Holer (7'), Sallai (22' pen.), Gunter (50', 74')
Santamaria (9'), Heintz (29')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Huntelaar (21')

Preview: Freiburg vs. Schalke 04 - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Freiburg and Schalke 04, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Freiburg take on Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the hosts looking to move back into the top half of the table after suffering back-to-back defeats.

Schalke, meanwhile, won only their second league game of the season with a 1-0 victory against Augsburg last time out, but could still be relegated at the end of the weekend depending on results elsewhere.

Match preview

Freiburg coach Christian Streich pictured on February 20, 2021© Reuters

Freiburg travelled to relegation contenders Arminia Bielefeld hoping to bounce back after a disappointing defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach last time out, but failed to lay a glove on the strugglers during an insipid 1-0 defeat.

Frank Kramer's side knew that they could move out of the bottom three with a victory, and started the match on the front foot accordingly, with Andreas Voglsammer sending his strike straight into the palms of Florian Muller, before the stopper superbly denied Fabian Klos from a tight angle.

Arminia continued to press, with Ritsu Doan in typically lively form, before finally breaking the deadlock after Masaya Okugawa's effort deflected off Baptiste Santamaria and past a helpless Muller into the back of the net.

Deprived of the suspended Lucas Holer and Ermedin Demirovic in attack, as well as Vincenzo Grifo through COVID-19, Freiburg could not muster any meaningful response, failing to have a shot on target across the 90 minutes.

Christian Streich will be concerned that his side's season may be fizzling out, but with seventh place potentially providing a pathway to the Europa League next season, the 55-year-old must find a way to motivate his players with only a three-point deficit to Union Berlin in that position.

Schalke 04's Amine Harit celebrates scoring their fourth goal on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Schalke will be a second tier side next season, of that there is no doubt whatsoever, but in one of their darkest ever seasons, Die Konigsblauen must take any light which comes their way. Their 1-0 win against Augsburg on Sunday certainly provided a little glimmer.

Dimitrios Grammozis had seen a return of only one point from four games since becoming Schalke's fifth head coach of the season last month, but his side started brightly, with Suat Serdar pouncing on a Rafal Gikiewicz error to put the hosts ahead after only four minutes.

Preferring to play in transition, Augsburg are generally better at holding leads than chasing them, with Heiko Herrlich's side sometimes lacking creativity to break sides down.

However, Marco Richter should have equalised when slipped in behind by Ruben Vargas, but the forward shot straight at the returning Ralf Fahrmann.

The 23-year-old was guilty of a much bigger miss after the break, somehow blazing over after sliding onto Raphael Framberger's excellent cross, with the forward more unfortunate to see his acrobatic overhead-kick denied by Fahrmann as Schalke held on for only their second league win of the season.

Depending on results elsewhere, they may need their third against Freiburg in order to avoid having their first relegation since 1988 confirmed by the end of the weekend.

Freiburg Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Schalke 04 Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Nabil Bentaleb celebrates scoring for Schalke 04 against Manchester City in the Champions League on February 20, 2019.© Reuters

Freiburg will continue to be without their key midfielder Nicolas Hofler, who missed the defeat to Arminia due to personal reasons.

Grifo may miss out again, too, having tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Italy last month.

Holer and Demirovic will both return, though, having served their one-match suspensions against Arminia.

Streich will likely pair both in tandem in attack, with Yannik Keitel and Jeong Woo-yeong dropping to the bench and Roland Sallai moving into his preferred wide role.

Schalke, meanwhile, continue to have a string of absentees, with Benito Ramen and Nabil Bentaleb both likely to be injured until May with back and groin issues respectively.

Mark Uth, Levent Mercan, Hamza Mendyl, Nassim Boujellab, Matija Nastasic, Steven Skrzybski and Kilian Ludewig will all be hoping to return to first-team action at some point this month, but are unlikely to feature against Freiburg.

Shkodran Mustafi surprisingly came off the bench to help Grammozis's side get across the line against Augsburg, despite indications that the former Arsenal defender would not play for the club again having been banished from the squad which travelled to Bayer Leverkusen for disciplinary reasons.

William also returned to the squad despite facing identical punishment, so both players should be involved again.

Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Muller; Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gulde; Schmid, Santamaria, Haberer, Gunter; Sallai, Demirovic, Holer

Schalke 04 possible starting lineup:
Fahrmann; Becker, Stambouli, Thiaw; Aydin, Serdar, Mascarell, Bozdogan, Oczipka; Huntelaar, Harit

SM words green background

We say: Freiburg 1-0 Schalke 04

With Holer and Demirovic back in tandem in attack, we expect Freiburg to edge a tight encounter.

Schalke will take confidence from their second win of the season last weekend, but it is tough to envisage Freiburg falling to a third successive defeat under Streich.

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Todays Game Header Right
1Bayern MunichBayern33236494425275
2RB Leipzig33198659302965
3Borussia DortmundDortmund331941072452761
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt331512666521457
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen331410952361652
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin33111484842647
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach331210116054646
13Mainz 053399153654-1836
14Hertha Berlin33811144050-1035
15Arminia Bielefeld3388172452-2832
16Werder Bremen33710163453-1931
17FC Koln3379173360-2730
RSchalke 04Schalke3337232585-6016

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