FC Schalke 04 are unbeaten in the last two encounters with FC Bayern München and will be out to prove their recent purple patch against the dominant force in German football is no fluke when welcoming the Bavarians on Matchday 13.
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the standout clash this weekend, which pits fifth against first at the VELTINS Arena (Saturday, 15:30CET/14:30GMT).
The form book
There can be different ways of interpreting form, with Schalke able to boast a proud record of not having lost their last two meetings with Bayern (a record no other side currently has), but on the flip side the Royal Blues are currently on a run of six games without a win. That form stands in stark contrast to Bayern's recent record of not having lost a single Bundesliga game all season. Something may have to give on Saturday.
Fresh from making his debut in the Revierderby and senior Germany side, Leroy Sane remains the talk of the town in Gelsenkirchen. The 19-year-old has netted five of the Royal Blues' 16 goals so far this season and will be the man they hope can run the Bayern rearguard ragged this weekend, having had the chance to show the rest of the world what he can do on international duty. Followers of the Bundesliga will not, of course, have needed that reminder…
Manuel Neuer was born in Gelsenkirchen and made his early name with the Royal Blues, particularly in the club's run to the semi-finals of the 2011 UEFA Champions League. However, he soon became the Ruhr club's nemesis, keeping them at bay no fewer than five times before finally conceding for the first time against his former club in March 2014. He has nevertheless been on the winning side six times and drawn twice against his hometown side who are yet to come out on the winning side against him in eight attempts.
This fixture formed the start of two beautiful stories: Robert Lewandowski scored the first of his 105 Bundesliga goals to date against Schalke, almost five years ago. Since that date, no other player has scored more goals in the Bundesliga than the Pole. Schalke coach Andre Breitenreiter will also remember the day he made his professional debut – against Bayern. It was 17 September 1991, the current Royal Blues' tactician netting his side's goal in a 1-1 draw.
Four minutes in May
Schalke and Bayern will get up close and personal this weekend, but one of the most famous duels between the two sides took place at a distance. It was the final day of the 2000/01 season and Schalke had one hand and four fingers on their maiden Bundesliga title, only for it to be snatched away from them after four agonising minutes. The Royal Blues defeated SpVgg Unterhaching 5-3 and, with Bayern losing 1-0 at Hamburger SV, the title was theirs going into stoppage time. As Schalke's players waited on the field of the Parkstadion for news of the final whistle in Hamburg, the mother of all drama unfolded with the very last kick of the game some 220 miles to the north. The Bavarians had a free-kick inside the Hamburg penalty area: up stepped Patrik Andersson, blasting the ball through the wall and in – his first and only goal of the season, which sparked tears of delirium in Hamburg and despair in Gelsenkirchen.