Cologne - While FC Schalke 04 may be familiar with traveling the continent competitively, that is something that FC Augsburg, their hosts this Sunday (kick-off 15:30 CEST / 13:30 GMT) are yet to experience.

With just a point between them, two of the Bundesliga's candidates for European competition next season get the chance to strengthen their respective claims when they face off at the SGL-Arena. takes a closer look...

Schalke arrive in Augsburg in desperate need of a victory to keep their top-four ambitions alive having slipped six points adrift in defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen a fortnight ago. Augsburg have other ideas, however. The Bavarians are hot on the Royal Blues' heels and victory would take them above their opponents in the standings.

has been ruled out with an ankle injury while there are doubts over , and (r.). Captain is back in full training "but we've got to wait and see if he can play," said coach Markus Weinzierl.

Ralf Fährmann (l.) is set to return between the posts for Schalke while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has also recovered from injury. "I'm pleased with the lads' efforts. We've got more options now," says coach Roberto Di Matteo. Roman Neustädter is not one of them, however, since he sits this one out suspended.

Of the six games Augsburg captain (r.) missed through injury, the Fuggerstädter won only one, losing four, while of the 20 other games in which he has featured, Augsburg won 11. A reliable defender, an outlet going forward and a mean penalty-taker, Augsburg will hope his fitness holds up.

Having made his defence more solid, Roberto Di Matteo is keen on more coming from his attackers, which is where Choupo-Moting comes in. After providing two assists in a 3-1 win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, he missed the last two games, neither of which the Royal Blues won. His return should provide be a timely boost.

Markus Weinzierl: "We're looking forward to playing against opponents who recently went to Real Madrid in the Champions League and won. It's the battle of fifth against sixth and that alone is a major achievement for us. This is a challenge we're very happy to accept."

Roberto Di Matteo: "We want to hold on in there at the top and we've got to think positively. We still believe in our chance [of fourth]. Augsburg are a very aggressive side and particularly strong at home. They're good opponents who are having a good season and their results show that quite clearly. It's definitely not going to be easy."

Augsburg's European challenge has come off the rails a little with four defeats from their last six, although a recent 1-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg was evidence of their competitive strength. Schalke have also dropped points of late, however, with just one league win in six.

Augsburg are still waiting for that elusive first Bundesliga victory over Schalke sine their promotion to the top flight in 2011. The Royal Blues have won five and drawn two of their seven meetings and were 2-1 victors in this fixture last season thanks to a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar brace.

Possible line-ups:

Augsburg: Hitz - Verhaegh, Janker, Klavan, Feulner - Baier - Bobadilla, Kohr, Ji, Werner - Djurdjic

Schalke: Fährmann - Höwedes, Matip, Nastasic - Barnetta, Fuchs - Aogo - Höger, Meyer - Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar

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