bundesliga.com is on hand to ensure you’re privy to all the pre-match rumblings from either camp ahead of Matchday 10's opener at the Veltins Arena…
Last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Leverkusen underlined Schalke’s status as a ‘work in progress’, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar remarking “we didn’t play enough football". The Royal Blues can’t afford to drop points against Augsburg, for whom a mid-table position at this stage of the season should be considered a success.
With a handful of first-team regulars out injured, Di Matteo must extract the maximum from the makeshift squad at his disposal. Joel Matip is still experiencing pain in his foot, while Kevin-Prince Boateng's fitness remains in doubt. “With Kevin we’ll have to wait and see,” said the Italian, who could hand Max Meyer a starting spot.
The visitors’ injury list is substantially shorter and, much to head coach Markus Weinzierl’s delight, features no new names. Having reintroduced Tim Matavz to his starting line-up against Freiburg, Weinzierl is yet to settle on a first-choice striker, but Tobias Werner should return on the left wing after completing a one-game ban.
With Raul Bobadilla likely to on the right for Augsburg, the hosts will look to exploit any of the Argentinian’s neglect for his defensive duties, and in Julian Draxler (r.) they have the ideal tool to do so. The World Cup winner has bagged a goal and an assist in his last home game and is once again a driving force for Schalke.
After opening his season account in the 2-0 win over SC Freiburg, Halil Altintop (l.) will be confident facing the club for whom he made 129 appearances in all competitions. The Turkish veteran is yet to rediscover his prolific form from 2013/14, but still plays a pivotal role in creating chances, of which he’s laid on 30 in 2014/15.
Di Matteo: I’m happy that we had a quiet week. We know that we have to get better. Augsburg will be a tough nut to crack.
Weinzierl (r.): We’ve played well on the road recently, but unfortunately we've lost narrowly. The minimum we’re targeting is a point.
Both sides should be well rested after neither were involved in DFB Cup action during midweek. While Schalke boast a five-game unbeaten streak on home soil dating back to last season, Augsburg are in need of a Halloween treat, having lost four of their last five on their travels this term, scoring just twice.
Augsburg are yet to win a Bundesliga clash against the Royal Blues, having also suffered defeat by at least a two-goal margin on every one of their three trips to the Veltins Arena. Schalke were forced to come from a goal down in the corresponding fixture last season, as they secured a convincing 4-1 win against the Függerstädter.
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Ayhan, Höwedes, Aogo - Höger, Neustädter- Choupo-Moting, Draxler, Meyer - Huntelaar
Augsburg: Hitz - Verhaegh, Callsen-Bracker, Klavan, Baba - Werner, Kohr, Baier, Bobadilla - Altintop, Matavzofficial Bundesliga YouTube channel: