- Bayern are on the verge of a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title.
- Schalke have not won away to Bayern in the league since April 2009.
- Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has yet to taste defeat against his former club.
Manuel Neuer welcomes former club Schalke 04 to the Allianz Arena on Saturday as FC Bayern München look to cement their grip on a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title.
The Royal Blues would love to play spoiler for the champions-in-waiting, though, with their chances of qualifying for Europe next season beginning to wane. bundesliga.com takes a closer look…
Bayern on the cusp
Bayern stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to seven points on Matchday 29 with a 3-1 win at VfB Stuttgart. The Bavarians' next opponents Schalke subsequently did them a favour, twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Revierderby rivals Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga's second-placed club. There are still 15 points left to play for, but no side has ever overturned a seven-point deficit with five matches to play to conclude the season as champions, and the safe money is now on Bayern becoming the first team to win four German titles in a row.
Schalke fell to a 3-0 defeat at FC Ingolstadt 04 two weeks ago, and whilst Andre Breitenreiter's men did well to battle back against Dortmund, the fact remains that they are now in seventh having dropped five points in their previous two games. The Gelsenkirchen club have not won at the Allianz Arena since March 2011, when they beat Bayern in the semi-finals on the way to lifting the 2010/11 DFB Cup, and you have to go all the way back to April 2009 to find their previous Bundesliga win on Bavarian soil. 1. FSV Mainz 05 occupy the final UEFA Europa League place on goal difference, and with the 05ers up against 1. FC Köln, it would be something of a surprise to see that situation improve for Schalke this weekend.
Nothing new for Neuer
Manuel Neuer is in line for his 157th Bundesliga appearance as a Bayern player. The Germany number one featured 156 times in the Bundesliga for his hometown club, lifting the aforementioned DFB Cup as captain in 2011, before swapping the VELTINS Arena for Munich later that summer. Part of the Schalke set-up since March 1991 - three weeks before his fifth birthday - Neuer has proven a bane to his boyhood club since his move. This will be his tenth meeting with Schalke as a Bayern player. In the previous nine games Bayern have won seven and drawn two, with Neuer managing an impressive five clean sheets.
Ribery back to his best
Ribery back to his best
After missing 11 months with ankle and then thigh problems, 33-year-old Franck Ribery has come roaring back to form at just the right time for Pep Guardiola's side. His winner in Matchday 28's 1-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt was the Frenchman's 70th, and arguably best, Bundesliga strike. The winger has featured for 90 minutes in each of the three games since, including both legs of Bayern's 3-2 aggregate win over SL Benfica in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Robert Lewandowski's goal against Köln last month proved the winner for Bayern on Matchday 27, and pulled the Pole onto a Bundesliga-leading 25 goals for the season. A run of 241 minutes without a goal since - a drought by the 27-year-old's standards - saw him dropped to the bench for Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Benfica, with a six-minute run-out at the end not enough for him to re-find his touch. Lewandowski has a happy history against Schalke, though, with his first goals for previous club Borussia Dortmund and current employers Bayern both coming against the Royal Blues. One more strike would take him three clear of Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng in this season's Torjägerkanone race, and pull him one ahead of Köln great Pierre Littbarski's haul of 116 strikes in the Bundesliga's all-time top scorer standings.