To start, we'll address my errors from the previous post: Rafinha plays fullback on the left side, not the right (obviously), and Christian Fuchs was not on Schalke last year (not obvious - I could have sworn he played on their defense last season. I must have confused him with someone else. Metzelder?). Thanks to everyone for the corrections.
Less than 10 hours from kick-off. After yesterday's matches Bremen and 'Gladbach both have a 1-point lead over Die Roten at the top of the table, with Bayern's game in hand coming today. The absence of Robben and probably Gomez bodes poorly for Bayern, but on the defensive side, we've been rock-solid for several straight games. While Villarreal, Freiburg and K'Slautern did little to test Neuer and the back line, it's likely that our defense will face a tough test today.
Schalke's offense features three guys who all have the abilities of a true striker - Farfan, Huntelaar, and Raul. While their formation, in a technical sense, won't have all three of them listed as playing up top, there isn't a single one of them you can focus on to take away. If you use your best CB to track Raul every time he goes forward, Huntelaar can sneak behind and punish you. This means that it's not enough to defend with energy and technical skill. Bayern's back line is going to need to communicate, and to hold a good line to prevent Schalke's lead guy (whoever it may be) from slipping behind. And Neuer has to direct traffic and be the lynch-pin of the back line.
For what it's worth, goal.com really seems to think that Gomez is starting. I can't confirm that and the club's official site hasn't given any word as of now. So we'll have to wait until morning to be sure. I'd prefer to just let him rest, considering the dangers inherent in rushing guys back too early, but who knows - maybe he was able to tun today and felt 100%.
I'm prepared to watch on Gol (since I'll be at the bar), but if anyone has any English-language feeds they want to share, do so in the comments. Remember that the site doesn't like URLs - so replace ".com" with "d o t c o m" or whatever.
A tough match, no doubt, but I still feel pretty good. Maybe a tie game at the half and a late Kroos goal to pull out a close win. Viva viva FC Bayern!