With their place in the UEFA Europa League next season starting to come under threat, the Royal Blues cannot afford to slip up once again, while Stuttgart have just four games to salvage their place at Germany's top-table next season. bundesliga.com takes a closer look at a game neither side will want to draw...
Having gone six games without a win, Schalke will be hoping it's lucky number seven this weekend with several clubs closing in on the Royal Blues in fifth place. At the other end of the domestic spectrum, Stuttgart are simply playing for the right to face Schalke twice again next season, with survival their one and only priority.
Schalke were put through their paces at a training camp at Marienfeld this week, as a response to a defeat in Mainz which jeopardises their European ambitions. , Jefferson Farfan, Joel Matip and Sead Kolasinac were all unable to take part in a number of training sessions and Roberto Di Matteo will leave it late before deciding which of the quartet is fit to play.
(l.) is back after suspension and he is set to return to the starting XI, with Oriol Romeu making way for the former FC Basel 1893 star. With Adam Hlousek suspended, Gotoku Sakai will step in at full-back while Antonio Rüdiger may be an option again after overcoming the flu.
The goals may have dried up for recently, yet he is still the predator Schalke's goalscoring hopes rest on. The Dutchman will again lead their attack and the outcome of the game could well depend on the shape he is in. A first goal in 14 would be a start, and the floodgates could then fly open for the 2011/12 Bundesliga top-scorer.
Goals have not been in such short supply for , who has netted in each of his last three games, totalling six in the last five. That is just the form Stuttgart need from their current first-choice forward who will look to silence the Veltins-Arena on Saturday.
Roberto Di Matteo, head coach (r.): "We've got to exhaust all of our options, even if that means changing things, in order to qualify for the Europa League."
Clemens Tönnies, club president: "The team, the coach, the manager are all now under pressure to make sure we at least make the Europa League. It's a question of honour."
Huub Stevens: "We're not going to let ourselves get distracted. I'm trying to get the lads back on the right track after the disappointment of Freiburg. That's what I'm here for. I know it's going to be tense right down to the final day of the season."
Without a win since defeating Real Madrid CF in the second-leg of their ill-fated UEFA Champions League last-16 tie, Schalke have picked up just four points from their last six league games and desperately need to turn the corner. Stuttgart have at least won two of their last five, but threw away two points last weekend to remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Stuttgart have the upper hand in the head-to-head stakes with 42 wins to Schalke's 33, and 14 draws. However, the Royal Blues came out convincing 4-0 winners in the reverse fixture at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena and won 3-0 at home last season.
Schalke: Fährmann - Höwedes, Matip, Nastasic, Kolasinac - Neustädter, Aogo - Farfan, Meyer, Choupo-Moting - Huntelaar
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Klein, Rüdiger, Niedermeier, Sakai - Serey Die, Gentner - Harnik, Maxim, Kostic - Ginczek