- Schalke still hunting European qualification.
- Ingolstadt in need of points at the bottom.
- Die Schanzer with history on their side against Royal Blues.
Schalke will know they have to improve as they enter the second half of the campaign on the back of three Bundesliga defeats in four, including a disappointing 2-1 loss at Hamburger SV on Matchday 16. Even with a win, Die Knappen would only be on 21 points – their worst Hinrunde since the turn of the millennium, and are also without top scorer Nabil Bentaleb, who is away with Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ingolstadt's season has not quite gone to plan so far either, with Die Schanzer finding themselves in an automatic relegation place at the turn of the year. However, they head to Gelsenkirchen with belief after six points from their last three games and also the knowledge that they managed a win and a draw against Schalke last season, including their biggest-ever Bundesliga victory.
- Schalke’s season so far can be split up into three phases: five defeats in a row to start with, seven wins on the bounce, and then four games yielding just one point.
- Ingolstadt have suffered ten defeats so far this season – they only reached that mark after 27 games last term.
- Schalke have suffered eight losses already – the most in a Hinrunde since 1993/94 under Helmut Schulte and Jörg Berger (ten).
- Ingolstadt have won seven of their 12 points this season away from home.
- Die Schanzer’s 3-0 win at home to the Royal Blues in 2015/16 is their biggest-ever Bundesliga victory.
- The Royal Blues' top scorer Nabil Bentaleb would have been suspended for the game for his accumulation of yellow cards, but he is missing anyway as he is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Algeria. Defender Baba Rahman and young striker Bernard Tekpetey are both in Ghana's squad for the competition, which ends on 5 February.