Schalke 04 vs. SC Freiburg / Bundesliga – Two neighbours in the middle of the table are meeting after they played in the last round against almost the same rivals and what they have in common is that they were defeated by Leipzig, while they played differently in other matches. After a long positive series, Schalke is again in a bad period and now they have three defeats in a row, although that one by Salzburg in Europa League does not mean anything. Freiburg has suffered three defeats in a row in the championship, but then they played a draw in Leverkusen and defeated Darmstadt in the last round, so they now have two points more than Schalke on their account. Last season in Gelsenkirchen, the mutual duel between these rivals ended goalless, while Freiburg celebrated at home over Schalke with 2-0, but Schalke has only two victories more in total. Begins: 17.12.2016. – 15:30 CET
Schalke urgently needs one win in order to stop the black series which they also had at the start of the season, when they lost the first five championship duels and fell to last place in the standings. After that, they started playing better and looked unpredictable, with great performances in Europa League, where they confidently won first place. Then came away match against the leader at that time, Leipzig, and the series was stopped with a defeat of 2-1. They cannot blame themselves a lot, because they had no luck, and their rival was in great shape, so they completely changed their structure and went to play an unimportant match against Salzburg in the last round of Europa League.
But they were also defeated, and they focused all their thoughts are focused on a derby against Bayer Leverkusen at home. But already at the very beginning of that match, there was a shock and a red card for a center-back Naldo after only four minutes. It was clear that they were facing a hell of a tough game, but they played very well with one player less, and they yielded only two minutes before the end and received a goal for a new defeat. They had a lot of objections to referees, however, they cannot brings back the points and they are still without their reliable center-back Naldo, and Nastasic from before. Fortunately, at least Howedes returns, so Kehrer and Kolasinac will retire in the last line, if he's ready for minor problems with injury.
Probable lineups Schalke 04: Fahrmann – Kehrer, Howedes, Kolasinac – Geis – Schopf, Baba – Goretzka, Konoplyanka, M.Meyer – Choupo-Moting
Freiburg is right in the middle of the table and what is more important for this team, the relegation zone is nine points away and may play completely peacefully. They were under pressure in the last round, because they welcomed the last ranked Darmstadt and a victory was an imperative, while they with a lot of problems in the end managed to reduce the deficit thanks to a penalty by reservist Petersen, although the rival was better throughout the match and Freiburg's goalkeeper Schwolow was actually the hero of this victory, the second time in a row, because he was also great in Leverkusen, when the match ended with a draw, which with this victory brings them peace before the match with Schalke.
Although their results are much better than their game, coach Streich believes in one lineup of players and it looked exactly the same in Leverkusen, as well as in the previous round. But he is not making changes because some important players are absent, like striker Philippe, or center-backs Kempf and Niedermeier, but it is very likely that nothing will change even for this match.
Probable lineups SC Freiburg: Schwolow – Kubler, Gulde, Soyuncu, C.Gunter – Frantz, Schuster – P.Stenzel, Grifo – Haberer – Niederlechner
Schalke 04 vs. SC Freiburg PICK
Schalke is the favourite in this match, but they are weakened especially in the last line that could now be vulnerable. Freiburg can be very unpleasant and they have repeatedly demonstrated it, and considering that they are in the same composition, it will not be a surprise if they score a goal in Gelsenkirchen and make big problems for the host.
Pick: both teams will score
Odds: 1.70 at bet365 (down to 1.60 can be played)