Both clubs go into the contest fresh from their respective opening UEFA Champions League group stage victories over FC Steaua Bucuresti and PFC CSKA Moskva, and while points towards the domestic title race are naturally the priority at the Veltins Arena, an on-field fraternal reunion promises to add further spice to what is already set to be a sizzling encounter.
Close encounter on the cardsIn the royal blue corner: Kevin-Prince Boateng, freshly arrived in Gelsenkirchen from Milan and already diligently going about establishing himself as Schalke's new go-to guy. In the red or, more accurately for this away game, Lederhosen-inspired white-and-brown corner: Jerome Boateng, in similarly fine fettle of late for both club and country. Six points, two wins and two clean sheets is the Bundesliga return for Jens Keller's troops since the elder Boateng took his leave of AC Milan to swell their ranks. The late transfer coup has reaped instant dividends. At 26, and with three years in Serie A behind him, Kevin-Prince has matured into a box-to-box midfielder of the elite class, and learned to better channel his once occasionally wayward energies for the good of the team.
Physical prowessA physically imposing player of outstanding technique, he has thus far been deployed by head coach Keller in an advanced central midfield role - and with Jerome a regular starter in the heart of the defence for Pep Guardiola's Bayern, it's odds-on that, should both be fit and selected, the battle of the Boatengs could get up-close-and-personal. The European champions' Germany international - himself no shrinking violet at 6' 2" tall and weighing in at close-on 200 lbs - says the prospect of going up against his brother in the Bundesliga is a "special moment for us, and the family." The pair grew up in different parts of Berlin - Jerome in relatively affluent Charlottenburg and Kevin-Prince, 18 months his senior, in the working-class district of Wedding. It was, he has acknowledged, "a difficult place. I come from there, but I got out".
Club before family on SundayIndeed he did, all the way to Bundesliga powerhouse Schalke via hometown club Hertha, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and Milan - with a half-season on loan at Dortmund thrown into the mix for good measure. At his official unveiling in Gelsenkirchen at the end of August, Boateng was palpably satisfied to be "home at last," playing in "for me, the best league in the world." Jerome had by then already taken to Twitter with a simple message:
Kevin-Prince is also looking forward to their imminent work meeting every bit as much. "I'm very happy to be playing against my brother, it's always nice to see him on the pitch," he told bundesliga.com after getting off the scoring mark for Schalke with the Matchday 5 winner at 1. FSV Mainz 05. The Ghana international - who represented Germany at youth level - once defined his relations with Jerome thus: "We're good friends, despite there being a certain distance between us seeing as we didn't wake up together every morning as kids. We grew up in different environments, with a different mentality." Similar in some respects, though - and the family ties will be put firmly on hold for the duration of Sunday's duel between two of the game's natural-born winners.
Welcome back Brother so happy for u ! pic.twitter.com/Ge7RBKrFrP— Jerome Boateng (@JB17Official) August 30, 2013