- FOX Sports host Ian Joy says Bayern vs Schalke is always 'a big game'.
- Bayern are closing in on the title.
- Schalke need the points to boost their European hopes.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the retired Hamburger SV, FC St. Pauli and FC Ingolstadt 04 defender - to name but a few of his former clubs - explained what the game means to both teams, discussed where it could be won and lost and highlighted a selection of potential match-winners.
bundesliga.com: Why is Bayern versus Schalke such a big game?
Ian Joy: It is always a big game when these two sides meet. The fans love it, the viewers love it and most importantly the players love to play in that game. This is another opportunity for Bayern to edge ever closer to the title and break another record. For Schalke it's a huge game for their European chances and getting some kind of positive result would boost the confidence of the club, which is certainly needed at the moment.
bundesliga.com: Is Manuel Neuer now a bigger legend at Bayern than at Schalke?
Joy: I would have to say yes to Bayern simply because he has won so much with the club, I should probably say he has won Bayern so much. His performances have been completely mind-blowing at times, the saves he has made in big games were vital to Bayern having success. Since he has arrived at the club he has become the best goalkeeper in the world and a world champion. That is enough to become a legend all across Germany let alone at Bayern or Schalke.
bundesliga.com: Can Schalke halt Bayern’s title charge this weekend?
Joy: Yes. On their day Schalke can beat anybody in the Bundesliga. They are a very good team of talented players. Unfortunately we have not seen that talent on a consistent basis this season, however a good result could potentially give them the boost they need to finish out the season strong and end up in a good European place in the table.
bundesliga.com: What gives Schalke hope ahead of the trip to the Allianz Arena?
Joy: Even though they have been inconsistent with their performances, Schalke are still in with a very good chance of finishing in a Champions League spot which would be amazing. I would imagine that's enough motivation alone but hopefully we see a good finish for Schalke this campaign. But it certainly will not be easy as the race to finish in the European places in the Bundesliga is frighteningly close.
bundesliga.com: Which players will be decisive in the outcome?
Joy: Obviously Bayern have so much talent at their disposal it could be any one of them that could be the difference-maker in this match. Robert Lewandowski started the Benfica game on the bench so I expect him to play a big role in the outcome against Schalke. Mario Götze is in desperate need of a good performance and that could happen. The one who has stood out to me so much this season has been Kingsley Coman and he's my tip to have a sparkling game. For Schalke I expect the youngsters to shine on the big stage! Max Meyer, Johannes Geis and Leroy Sane are a terrific trio of talent who can win any match at any time. We have not seen it enough this season from that trio but I wouldn't put it past them from stepping up in a match like this and firing Schalke to glory.