Hertha BSC vs. Schalke 04
Two teams from the opposite sides of the table will meet once more in this week’s Bundesliga action as Hertha BSC will host Schalke 04 in the first outing of their two-match homestand.
The home team is keen on carrying momentum as they’ve won three of their last five matches. Hertha scored wins against SC Freiburg, VfL Wolfsburg, and Bayer Leverkusen after losing handily against the defending champions in Bayern Munich.
They are 13th in the Bundesliga table with 22 points while Schalke are at sixth with 33 points as of this writing.
Schalke have continued to surprise despite missing key players to start the year. Team boss David Wagner has shown everybody that he’s the right man for the job by instilling a family-like atmosphere for his players.
A win here could put them at level with the resurgent Borussia Dortmund at fourth place, overtaking Bayer Leverkusen in the process. While a loss would possibly have them slip to as low as the eighth spot should SC Freiburg and Hoffenheim get the job done in their respective assignments.
SBOTOP is here to provide some key points ahead of this weekend fixture.
Hertha searching for their next star
Goals are hard to come by lately for Hertha BSC which is why it’s understandable that they’re looking for some key pieces up front.
With a squad not having big names, they usually make up for it with their intensity, teamwork, and physicality at the backline.
It is their forwards like Dodi Lukebakio and Vladimir Darida who are their focal points of attack. But overall, Die Plumpe are fourth to the last in goals netted with only 24 so far this campaign.
Because of this, the Jurgen Klinsmann-managed squad has been active in the transfer market these past few days. Several sources have them linked to AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek, who is emerging as one of the world’s top young prospects. They are in a bidding war against Tottenham.
The Polish striker is one of I Rossoneri’s top scorers with four already this season. But a fresh start may be in order for the young upstart as he fell down to the pecking order with the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In fact, during their recent Coppa Italia quarterfinals match versus Torino, Piatek was booed off the field by Milan fans despite getting the win.
Another interesting development for Hertha is the pending arrival of midfielder Lucas Tousart. The French man just completed a transfer from Lyon for €24-M and he is expected to join the club soon, according to our Bundesliga 2020 news.
Adding Tousart could be a huge boost for their attack and in the middle as he is a versatile player who is in the mold similar to Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez.
Schalke’s goalkeeper conundrum
Team boss David Wagner will have a crucial decision ahead of him as he’ll have to decide on who will be Schalke’s goalkeeper moving forward between Alexander Nubel or Markus Schubert.
Both have made their cases as to why they should be picked, which puts Wagner in a tricky and delicate situation.
Alexander Nubel was relieved of his captainship when he expressed his intent to go to Bayern Munich next season. He refused to sign a long-term extension with Schalke when it was offered to him during the winter break.
The 23-year-old has already shown glimpses of potential while offering more experience in manning the goalpost. Nubel is young, springy, and very cerebral, making him one of Bundesliga’s top-tier keepers.
This season, Nubel has made 54 saves while keeping four clean sheets in 15 appearances for Schalke, just before he was slapped a four-match suspension after a reckless challenge in their fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt.
With him out in match days 16 to 19, Markus Schubert took over and he posted one clean sheet while helping the club collect five points at the time.
However, Schubert showed his inexperience during their match against the defending champions where guys like Lewandowski and Gnabry picked him apart.
Regardless, Wagner is expected to have a difficult time on choosing between these two which may affect their ongoing Bundesliga campaign.
Schalke have gotten the best of Hertha in their head-to-head matchups as they’ve won 11 games when they visit them. All in all, Die Knappen have won 35 Bundesliga games against them.
At the same time, Schalke have posted 32 clean sheets against Hertha – the most against any other side.