FC Bayern München can take another huge step towards a record fourth successive Bundesliga title with victory over top-four contenders FC Schalke 04 on Saturday (kick-off 18:30CEST/16:30GMT).
The Bavarians have been crowned champions by the close of play on Matchday 30 in each of the last three campaigns, but find themselves having to play the waiting game in 2015/16, with second-placed Borussia Dortmund only seven points adrift and still in with a mathematical chance of taking the Bundesliga's top prize.
The deficit might have been smaller were it not for Schalke, following their Revierderby draw with BVB last weekend. The result keeps the Royal Blues firmly in the running for a place in Europe, although they currently sit outside of the two alloted UEFA Europa League spots on goal difference and three points behind fourth-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the race for the two remaining UEFA Champions League qualification berths.
Matchday 13 rewind: Schalke 1-3 Bayern
Matchday 30 - match stats
- Victory would take Bayern onto 78 points. Only once before, in 2012/13, did they have a higher number of points on the board after 30 matches (81).No team has ever overturned a seven-point deficit with five matches still to play and finished the season as champions.Bayern are unbeaten in their last ten competitive games against Schalke (W8, D2).Manuel Neuer is in line for his 157th Bundesliga appearance as a Bayern player; one more than he made whilst at Schalke.Bayern have won all nine of their Bundesliga matches immediately after a Champions League assignment.Andre Breitenreiter has lost all three of his meetings with Bayern as a head coach.
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, Kimmich, Martinez, Alaba - Rode, Vidal - Costa, Götze, Ribery - Lewandowski
Absentees: Alonso (suspended), Badstuber (ankle), Boateng, Benatia, Robben (all groin), Coman (thigh)
Coach: Pep Guardiola
Schalke: Fährmann - Riether, Matip, Neustädter, Aogo - Geis, Höjbjerg - Junior Caicara, Belhanda, Sane – Huntelaar
Absentees: Kolasinac (suspended), Höwedes (thigh), Nastasic (light training), Uchida, Höger (both knee)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter