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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Bundesliga clash between Union Berlin and Schalke 04, including team news and predicted lineups.

Schalke 04 will attempt to halt a four-game losing run in the Bundesliga when they travel to Germany's capital to take on Union Berlin on Sunday afternoon.

David Wagner's side have dropped into 10th position due to their recent struggles, but Union Berlin have problems of their own, currently occupying 14th spot in the table as they battle to remain clear of the relegation zone.


Match preview

Union Berlin players celebrate Marcus Ingvartsen's goal on May 27, 2020© Reuters

Nine wins, four draws and 16 defeats - that is how Union Berlin have performed in the Bundesliga this season; a total of 31 points has left them in 14th spot, only three points clear of 15th-placed Mainz.

The gap from the capital side to Fortuna Dusseldorf in 16th is only four points, meanwhile, which is an indication of their precarious position in the table heading into the final straight.

Die Eisernen are competing in their first ever season at this level of football, and they can be largely proud of their performances in the Bundesliga during the 2019-20 campaign.

The club's supporters are likely to be fearful of what might be ahead, though, as they have lost four of their last five in the league, including heavy defeats in their last two away matches.

Union Berlin will enter Sunday's match off the back of a 4-1 loss at Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend, while the capital side have not actually triumphed in the league since the end of February.

Schalke players celebrate Weston McKennie's goal against Fortuna Dusseldorf on May 27, 2020© Reuters

Schalke, meanwhile, have also been in disappointing form since returning to action in the middle of May. Indeed, Wagner's side suffered a 4-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in their first game back before Augsburg recorded a 3-0 victory over the Royal Blues on May 24.

Die Knappen have also lost their last two in Germany's top flight against Fortuna Dusseldorf and Werder Bremen to slide down the table, with the team now occupying 10th position.

Schalke are still in the argument for a top-six finish as they sit just five points behind Wolfsburg in the final Europa League position, although the club's supporters will not be too confident considering what they have seen from their side over the last couple of weeks or so.

Wagner's team have just not been able to get to grips with the behind-closed-doors fixtures, but they did record a 2-0 victory against Union Berlin in the reverse match earlier this season.

Union Berlin Bundesliga form: DLLLDL
Union Berlin form (all competitions): LLLLDL

Schalke Bundesliga form: LDLLLL
Schalke form (all competitions): LDLLLL


Team News

Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo pictured in October 2019© Reuters

Union Berlin are likely to be boosted by the return of midfielder Robert Andrich from suspension, but Sheraldo Becker and Julian Ryerson are both on the sidelines through injury.

Sebastian Andersson is again expected to lead the line with support from Marius Bulter and Marcus Ingvartsen, while Grischa Promel should keep his spot in the middle of the park.

As for Schalke, Weston McKennie will be unavailable through suspension, while Amine Harit, Suat Serdar, Omar Mascarell and Benjamin Stambouli remain fitness doubts for the out-of-form side.

Wagner could shuffle his pack from the side that lost at home to Bremen last time out, with Benito Raman and Guido Burgstaller both in line to feature in the final third of the field.

Bastian Oczipka and Nassim Boujellab could also earn starting roles after appearing off the bench last weekend.

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Gikiewicz; Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Subotic; Trimmel, Gentner, Andrich, Lenz; Ingvartsen, Bulter; Andersson

Schalke possible starting lineup:
Nubel; Kabak, Sane, Nastasic; Kenny, Boujellab, Schopf, Oczipka; Caligiuri, Burgstaller, Raman


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We say: Union Berlin 1-1 Schalke 04

Both sides are likely to have earmarked this fixture as a good chance to put three points on the board, but neither will enter the contest in good form. Schalke's losing run is going to end at some point, and we expect the visitors to pick up something for their efforts on Sunday afternoon.



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Hertha Berlin players celebrate scoring against RB Leipzig on May 27, 2020
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Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

SAILING
· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

FOOTBALL
· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

CYCLING
· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

WEIGHTLIFTING
· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

HOCKEY
· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

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