Pitchside Europe

European Match of the Weekend: Schalke v Bayern Munich

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Jupp Heynckes and Huub Stevens will lock horns on Saturday afternoon as Schalke host Bayern Munich at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, and no one should doubt the scale of the rivalry between the two clubs.

Both sides will be looking to end each other's unbeaten starts to the campaign, and both sets of supporters will arrive at the ground with real optimism ahead of the clash.

Matches between Schalke and Bayern are always guaranteed an electric atmosphere and, despite Champions League matches in midweek, the players will all be ready to give everything for their respective sides.

The Bavarians currently sit at the top of the Bundesliga table and boast a 100 per cent record from their opening three games ahead of the match in Gelsenkirchen.

Meanwhile, die Konigsblauen find themselves in fourth spot early in the season - just two points behind their fierce rivals.

The visitors hold the ascendancy, if last season's encounters are to be trusted, having won 2-0 on both occasions.

Indeed, former Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer — who made the controversial switch 15 months ago — is still yet to concede a goal against his old side.

Of their 92 meetings, Bayern have won 45 in comparison to Schalke's 20, with a further 27 encounters ending in draws.

The Bavarians finished nine points ahead of Schalke in the Bundesliga last season, but Schalke secured an encouraging 2-1 Champions League away victory over Olympiacos in midweek and will head into the match with confidence.

Furthermore, a buoyant Schalke have won four and drawn one of their opening five contests in all competitions this season.

Bayern will check on the fitness of winger Franck Ribery after he limped off at half time on Wednesday evening, while Mario Gomez remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

For Schalke, Timo Hildebrand looks set to be the only definite absentee, with Jermaine Jones a slight doubt, but it is the fitness of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar which is the most troublesome.

Huntelaar, last season's top Bundesliga scorer who also grabbed the winner in their win at Olympiacos on Tuesday, missed training along with Jones on Thursday.

"It will be tight getting them ready to Saturday," coach Huub Stevens said.

The Dutch coach also said Romanian Ciprian Marica was recovering from a groin injury but would not be fit in time for the game.

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Schalke v Bayern Munich: Saturday - 14:30

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