The international break came at a weird time for every Bundesliga club. There was all the preparation and build-up to the first matchday, and the league decided to wait two weeks before showcasing matchday 2. The start-and-stop nature of the league may affect a lot of Bundesliga teams, but it won’t affect Bayern Munich.
The defending champions only had to relinquish seven players to international duty. The rest of the squad was able to prepare for a marquee match-up against Schalke. World Cup qualifier fatigue is a non-issue for Bayern; the one instance it could be involves Arturo Vidal – he played in Chile’s 0-0 draw with Bolivia on Tuesday – and Bayern already have a player that could directly replace him.
That player is Renato Sanches, who Carlo Ancelotti said is 100 percent fit after experiencing thigh issues in the preseason. Many are anticipating the debut of the €35 million teenager, who moved from Benfica in the summer. Ancelotti linked Renato Sanches’ starting potential with Vidal’s availability, but the coach expects the 18-year-old midfielder “will give his best” should he make his first Bundesliga start.
Even without Vidal or Renato Sanches, Ancelotti has several players with which he can dominate the midfield. The first year coach raved how versatile Joshua Kimmich is, insisting the young Germany international “will have place” in the team this season. He can also bank on Xabi Alonso, who put in a strong debut performance in this exact fixture in Veltins Arena two years ago just days after making a last-minute move from Real Madrid.
Bayern take on a Schalke team coming off a disappointing Bundesliga coaching debut for Markus Weinzierl. His stagnant side lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 in matchday 1, garnering some negative headlines – ones that new director of sport Christian Heidel said he expected. Weinzierl has a few of new toys to play with after Heidel completed a trio of moves in late August, but the first-year coach may struggle to incorporate his new talent right away.
Bayern set a powerful tone two weeks ago after dominating Werder Bremen. With a strong away performance in round two, the defending champions could be back in the fast lane towards another Bundesliga title.
Prediction: 2-0 Bayern win. Frankfurt ran Schalke off the park two weeks ago, but they usually come to play when Bayern is in town. Still, Nabil Bentaleb is not going to magically make Naldo and Benedikt Höwedes into a solid center back partnership. Even with Thomas Müller on the wing – Ancelotti conform that he, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski will start in attack – Bayern is going to spend a lot of time in Schalke’s end of the field. Having a tenacious midfield (even if Vidal does not play) helps too.
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions: Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng (groin), Kingsley Coman (ankle), Arjen Robben (groin)
Schalke injuries and suspensions: Donis Avdijaj (knee), Coke (knee), Franco di Santo (muscle issues), Fabian Giefer, Atsuto Uchida (knee)
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