Wolfsburg are looking to recover from three successive defeats and there are no doubts that Felix Magath’s side will be in big problems if they fail to win this game. Schalke, on the other hand, have shown a massive improvement following the poor start to the season and the club from Gelsenkirchen will fancy their chances in this match. After Wolfsburg had narrowly escaped relegation to Bundesliga 2 last season, everybody at the club were hoping to see a major improvement this term, but Felix Magath’s side continued to struggle and they are again much closer to the relegation zone than the European places. The squad suffered major changes this summer, which certainly didn’t help as the team are again in the process of rebuilding and we all know that this takes a lot of time. The impressive 3:0 win over Koln in their opening game hinted that Wolves could be in for a successful season, but they were quickly grounded, having lost next three league games, conceding eight goals in the process. The atmosphere in the team are still at a very low level and with not even a hint of team spirit in Felix Magath’s squad, the individual quality of players like Schafer, Josue, Hasebe and Helmes is not enough to take this side out of problems. Thomas Hitzlsperger misses out with a knee problem, while Hasan Salihamidzic and Patrick Helmes are also unlikely to feature. Schalke showed a lot of potential by reaching the Champions League semi-final last term, with the appointment of talented coach Ralf Rangnick proving to be a great decision by the club management. Apart from Manuel Neuer, who moved to Bayern Munich, the club managed to keep hold of their key players, while adding Ralph Fahrmann, Lewis Holtby, Ciprian Marica, Christian Fuchs and Teemu Pukki to the side, making sure the squad boast a big strength in depth this season. After losing to Stuttgart in their opening Bundesliga game, Schalke impressed to beat Koln, Mainz and Borussia M’Gladbach, whereas the 6:3 aggregate win over Helsinki in Europa League play-offs proved that the Miners are on fire at the moment. With Klaas Jan Huntelaar scoring 12 goals in 8 games and Raul on top of his game as well, Ralf Rangnick’s side look more than capable of beating out-of-form Wolfsburg and getting one over their former boss Felix Magath. Christoph Metzelder, Jermaine Jones, Peer Kluge, Sergio Escudero and Jan Moravek are likely to miss out.
Wolfsburg are all over the place at the moment and with the players really low on confidence following two embarrassing defeats, Wolves clearly face an uphill task against Schalke. Ralf Rangnick’s side are on top of their game at the moment and I rate them as favourites in this clash.
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