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Opposition Form Report: Schalke Stop Hannover for 3 Valuable Points

Di Matteo's conservative approach works to a T as Eintracht Braunschweig and Shakhtar Donetsk continue preparations for their respective second half restarts.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images


Schalke 04 (1-0) Hannover 96

1-0 S04: Marco Höger (32')

Roberto Di Matteo stuck to the setup that he ended the Hinrunde with, and it worked to great affect. They won the ball in the midfield numerous times, and Marco Höger and Max Meyer were able to close the gap between the midfield and the attack. Atsuto Uchida and Christian Fuchs had the luxury to meander forward, but both stayed close to the defense in the second half, effectively resulting in a back-five. Such a conservative approach could be what Schalke need on the road, but with Huntelaar suspended, they might be at a major disadvantage if they fall behind.

Schalke XI (3-5-2): Giefer – Höwedes, Kirchhoff, Nastasić – Uchida, Höger, Neustädter, Meyer, Fuchs – Huntelaar, Choupo-Moting


Eintracht Braunschweig (2-0) FC Basel 1893

1-0 EBS: Håvard Nielsen (63')
2-0 EBS: Hendrick Zuck (71')

One would think that beating a Champions League team (especially one that advanced to the Round of 16), would be an encouraging accomplishment. Torsten Lieberknecht was not happy with the way Braunschweig won the match though. He told the Braunschweig website his side was reading the game, with Basel in their attacking 3-4-3 formation. Newly-acquired Nik Omladić made his debut in midfield in the second half, and played a prominent role in the build-up of both goals. Braunschweig begin their Rückrunde against Kaiserslautern next weekend, one of four matches they will play before their trip to Munich.

Braunschweig XI (4-4-2): Gikiewicz – Theuerkauf (Kruppe 86'), Reichel, Correia (86' Henn), Kessel (Sauer 86') – Khelifi (Zuck 46'), Boland, Pfitzner (Vrančić 46'), Korte (Omladić 46') – Ryu (Hochscheidt 63'), Nielsen (Düker 72')

UEFA Champions League

In the middle of a long midseason break, Shakhtar Donetsk returned from a long training trip to Brazil. They faced Bahia (2-3 L), Flamengo (0-0 D), Atletico Minero (2-4 L), and Internacional (2-1 W), and Cruzeiro (1-1 D), all in a week and a half. Similar problems persisted in these friendlies that they did in the Champions League – chance finishing, counterattacking, space in defense – but they showed a high work-rate and maintained a pressing style that lead to some great attacking positioning. They will next play Dinamo Zagreb of the Priva HNL in Croatia, two weeks before they reopen their season in the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

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