Watching Schalke has been a pretty painful experience in 2020 and they look worth taking on again on Wednesday night.
Don’t be fooled by their still-respectable Bundesliga position of eighth; they’ve now taken just four points from their last nine games, scoring a paltry two goals in the process.
Since the resumption of the league, they’ve lost 4-0 at Dortmund and, most worryingly, 3-0 at home to lowly Augsburg on Sunday when they were toothless in attack despite seeing plenty of the ball.
Boss David Wagner is under increasing pressure.
He’ll hope for the gloom to be lifted here as Fortuna do have the league’s joint-worst attack having netted only 29 goals in their 27 games. However, they looked lively enough against Koln on Sunday when they led 2-0 late on only to end up drawing 2-2.
Perhaps the key to this match is how they are mentally after that setback – had they held on they would be just one point from a position of safety.
However, their manager, Uwe Rosler, will doubtless have been stressing the many positive aspects of that performance – Koln came into it on the back of a decent string of results – and given what these two teams have produced since the action returned earlier this month, the hosts look a decent bet to win the game at 8/5.
Another possible angle is a cards one – Fortuna have collected the most (66) of any side in the top flight this season.
Specifically, Niko Giesselmann to be carded at 11/4 is worth considering.
He’s been booked in seven of his 22 Bundesliga games this season and is set to continue on the left of a three-man defence here.
Schalke have a strong preference for attacking down the right – stats show 42% of their attacking play comes on that flank – and so Giesselmann should be in the firing line.
However, it will be worth checking which ref is in charge first – that won’t be announced until the morning of the game.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change
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