bundesliga.com presents the necessary pre-match skinny on one of Matchday 3's standout encounters...
Taking points off a direct rival for a place in Europe is the remit on both sides of the fence at Borussia Park this weekend. Neither side has exactly lit up the Bundesliga just yet, despite boasting three FIFA World Cup winners between them, but a win for either outfit could prove just the tonic going into a hectic three-week schedule of Bundesliga and European action.
Other than Julian Korb (flu), Gladbach head coach Lucien Favre will have a full squad to choose from. Max Kruse could make his first start of the season following injury, but Guinean international winger (pictured) may have to settle for a place on the bench, having only returned home from international duty on Friday afternoon.
says he's hopeful of making the grade this weekend after suffering a hamstring strain in Germany's friendly defeat to Argentina. Atsuto Uchida (pictured) and Kaan Ayhan could return following injury, but there'll be no place for Sead Kolasinac (knee), Leon Goretzka, Fabian Giefer, Felipe Santana, Jan Kirchhoff (all muscular) or Joel Matip, who overstretched his groin in training this week.
Kruse's probable return could hardly have come at a more opportune time for the Rhineland club, who are just one of four Bundesliga clubs still to break the one-goal barrier this season. The 26-year-old scored 12 times and laid on as many assists last term, but has spent the first few weeks of 2014/15 on the sidelines nursing a pelvis complaint.
Captain Benedikt Höwedes has developed the uncanny knack of leading from the back of late, most recently netting the equaliser against FC Bayern München on Matchday 2. His big-game experience for club and country is a massive asset for Jens Keller's otherwise raw ensemble, who lost at home and away to Gladbach in 2013/14.
Lucien Favre: "I can't really say right know who's going to start. Branimir [Hrgota] is your classic sort of striker, who likes to stay in attack. Max [Kruse] prefers to drop off and have the ball at his feet. They're two very different players."
Ralf Fährmann: "We had a lot of misfortune in Gladbach last year […] But that's all in the past. This time it could be a completely different story."
Two draws from two are the sum parts of Gladbach's efforts thus far, while Keller's Royal Blues - after being knocked out of the DFB Cup in the first round by SG Dynamo Dresden and losing to Hannover 96 on the opening day - took a point off record champions Bayern last time out. "That says it all about the quality of their team," warned Favre.
As alluded to in conversation with club website www.schalke04.de, die Knappen haven't always had it easy against Mönchengladbach. Schalke have lost five out of the two sides' last six Bundesliga meetings away from the Veltins Arena, with their first win at Borussia Park since November 2011 coming at the tail end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Gladbach: Sommer - F. Johnson, Stranzl, Jantschke, Alvaro Dominguez - Kramer, G. Xhaka - Hahn, Traore - Raffael - M. Kruse
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Höwedes, Ayhan, Aogo - Neustädter - Höger, K.-P. Boateng - Sam, Draxler - Huntelaar