It’s matchday for the final time this season as RB Leipzig are set to welcome Schalke 04 to the Red Bull Arena on Saturday, 27th May, 15:30 CEST.
Not only did RB Leipzig secure Champions League football for the fifth successive season, last weekend’s superb win over Bayern also means that Marco Rose’s side are guaranteed to finish third in the table.
RBL will still be looking to give in full throttle at the weekend in order to go into the DFB-Pokal final full of momentum.
It certainly won’t be an easy task against Schalke, who will be doing all they can to pick up a vital three points in their fight for survival.
Thomas Reis’ Royal Blues are still in the race to secure Bundesliga safety after their superb second half of the season. Here is everything you need to know about our opponents on matchday 34.
Leipzig rounded off the first half of the season with a dominant display
RBL defeat Schalke 6-1
Schalke 04: Form check
It was a first half of the season to forget for Schalke. After matchday 17, the boys from Gelsenkirchen were rock bottom of the table, seven points adrift from safety and it looked as though Bundesliga survival might have been a step too far.
However, Reis’ men went eight games unbeaten from matchday 18 to matchday 25, a run which started with 4 0-0 draws in succession.
As well as the many draws, they were also able to pick up some vital wins and they closed the gap to the teams above them.
The Royal Blues have collected seven points from their last five matches and they held Eintracht Frankfurt to a 2-2 draw at the Veltins-Arena last time out. Reis’ side have also had some success on the road in recent weeks, including at the MEWA ARENA, when they beat Mainz 3-2. Schalke’s impressive form can be seen from the fact that they sit eighth in the form table since matchday 17.
FC Schalke 04 …
- … are specialists at picking up points in the final minutes of matches. No other team in the league has scored more goals from the 80th minute onwards than Schalke this season and the Royal Blues also have a knack for scoring in injury time. Since mid-March alone, S04 have picked up a whopping eight points from their late goals. Marius Bülter scored in the twelfth minute of stoppage time in his side’s 3-2 win in Mainz.
- … don’t make the best use of their chances. Schalke have scored just 33 goals from their 397 shots this season and have found the net on fewer occasions than any other side. They’ve only bagged ten goals on the road this season, also the least of any team.
- … are haunted by the woodwork. Schalke have struck the frame of the goal on twelve occasions this season and only RBL have hit the post or the bar more times (15).
- … know how to run. S04 have made the fifth most sprints of any team in the league this season with 7,890.
- Marius Bülter
Bülter is one of Schalke’s most dangerous forwards. The 30-year-old has already netted eleven times this season and his impressive tally accounts for a third of S04’s goals this term. Six of his goals have come in the final 15 minutes of matches. Not only is he a real threat up top, he’s also a quick, physical, team player.
Bülter also has nerves of steel and has scored three goals from the spot in injury time this season. That is an unprecedented feat across a Bundesliga campaign.
- Alex Kral
The defensive midfielder is a very important part of S04’s team. The 25-year-old has impressed this season with his tackling ability and his composure on the ball.
Kral has also played 35 matches for the Czech Republic.
- Rodrigo Zalazar
The Uruguayan is Schalke’s playmaker with his dynamism, technical ability and superb right foot. The 23-year-old can also pose a real threat from set-pieces.
The South American is a real fan favourite amongst the Gelsenkirchen faithful and has got one goal and five assists to his name this season.
- Tom Krauß
Krauß came through the ranks of the RBL youth academy before making his Bundesliga debut during the 2019/20 season. He has developed into a key player at Schalke and is a really important part of their team at just 21 years of age.
The youngster has picked up eight yellow cards in 32 matches this season, but this speaks volumes about his commitment and his strengths when his side are out of possession.
Injuries and suspensions
- Tom Krauß
It’s still unclear as to whether Krauß will be able to feature against his former club. The 21-year-old went off with a thigh injury against Frankfurt last time out.
It has not yet been confirmed as to whether Krauß suffered a muscle fibre tear.
- Ralf Fährmann
It is unlikely that the goalkeeper will feature due to a torn muscle fibre in the adductor.
- Jere Uronen
The Finnish left-back picked up an adductor injury at the end of February and has not been in the squad in recent weeks due to muscle problems.
- Soichiro Kozuki
The Japanese player is out of action for the rest of the season. The 22-year-old, who scored against RBL earlier in the campaign, picked up an ankle injury back in February and underwent surgery.
- Moritz Jenz and Simon Terodde
The pair are suspended after picking up their fifth yellow cards of the season last time out.
All the information regarding the RBL squad can be found here: RBL team news.
Thomas Reis has been in charge since October. When he took over, the Royal Blues had picked up just six points from their first eleven matches and whilst the start of his tenure was turbulent at times, the 49-year-old has done well to steady the ship. Reis favours a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Reis appeared in the Bundesliga as a player for the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Bochum. He then led Bochum to Germany’s top flight as head coach in 2021.
Back amongst Europe’s elite
RB Leipzig qualify for the 2023/24 Champions League
RBL’s record vs. Schalke 04
- 7 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats – 26:9 goals
- 3 home wins, 4 away wins
- Top scorer: Timo Werner (6 goals)
- Biggest win: 6-1 on 24th January 2023(Goals: 2xAndré Silva, Benjamin Henrichs, Timo Werner, Dani Olmo, Yussuf Poulsen)
The last five matches
- 24th January 2023 | Bundesliga matchday 17: Schalke 1-6 RB Leipzig
- 6th February 2021 | Bundesliga matchday 20: Schalke 0-3 RB Leipzig
- 3rd October 2020 | Bundesliga matchday 3: RB Leipzig 4-0 Schalke
- 22nd February 2020 | Bundesliga matchday 23: Schalke 0-5 RB Leipzig
- 28th September 2019 | Bundesliga matchday 6: RB Leipzig 1-3 Schalke