Date: August 5, 2014
Venue: rewirpowerSTADION, Bochum
Kick-off Time: 6:00 pm BST
Schalke continue their preparations for the upcoming season with a friendly at Bundesliga 2 outfit VfL Bochum, who began their season on Saturday.
Bochum’s four year absence from the Bundesliga represents their longest stay away from the German top division since the early 1970’s. A club which finished fifth in the Bundesliga as recently as 2004, they flirted dangerously with relegation to the German third tier last season, finishing one spot above the relegation play-off place.
Their fans will be hoping for a less stressful season this time round, and they began their campaign with a creditable home draw against SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
Schalke finished third in the Bundesliga last season and will hope to mount a more serious challenge to Bayern Munich’s title this term. They have lost the dangerous Adam Szalai to Hoffenheim, but will expect to replace his goals with those of Cameroon’s Maxim Choupo-Moting. The big worry lies in the future of star player Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who is being linked with a move to the Premier League.
Schalke’s form in friendlies has been patchy so far, with a win against Stoke City followed by a poor performance in their own Schalke 04 Cup, where a draw against West Ham United and defeat to Newcastle United saw them finish bottom.
Key Players/Team News
Given they have their second league game of the season on Saturday, coach Peter Neururer will want to avoid injuries and may choose to rest some of the likely starters against Erzgebirge Aue.
Key Players/Team News
Coach Jens Keller will use this friendly to continue to assess his players’ fitness. Kevin-Prince Boateng will be expected to lead the team in the absence of Huntelaar.
Schalke go into this match as heavy favourites, with bet365 offering odds of 1.66. What you can also do is to avail of the 200-quid joining bonus with bet365 and bet on Schalke this game – it’s a bit of banker bet.
Bochum can be backed at 4.33 with BetFred and BetVictor, but despite friendlies being notoriously hard to predict, it would be a surprise to see them pull off the victory. Given Schalke’s status as Bundesliga challengers, I’m happy to back them against a team who will be harbouring faint hopes of rubbing shoulders with them in competitive action in 2015/16.