Schalke and Manchester City may be in very different positions in their respective leagues: the home team have found themselves going from runner ups in last season’s Bundesliga to barely scraping by just above the relegation zone, while City have returned to the Premier League mountaintop. However, the beauty of the Champions League is that the only thing that matters in this tournament is how you play on the day. And that’s something that is both a blessing and a curse for Schalke.
On one hand, it means their lacklustre performances won’t affect their Champions League chances. On the other, it does provide little confidence they can overcome a side like City. Speaking of Man City, they’ve been on fire as of late, tearing through the FA Cup and battering top teams like Chelsea in their pursuit to retain their Premier League crown. We expect them to be no less ferocious here.
FC Schalke 04 vs Manchester City Prediction: Schalke 04 0-2 Man City
While Manchester City would hopefully know by now not to take any match for granted, we do think they have reason to be quietly confident heading into this match. Better results have been matched by better performances and Schalke would have to pull something special out the bag here to stop Manchester City’s thunderous momentum. However, we think that City’s tremendous offence will simply be too much to bear, and with such a deep roster of talented goalscorers, that they’ll manage more than a single point victory. We predict Schalke will only be able to hold their opponents off for so long, leading to a 2-0 overall scoreline in City’s favour.
Our recommended tip: Man City win to nil
The Premier League frontrunners have the huge advantage going into this Champions League matchup. They hold a significant 76% win probability, with FC Schalke 04 trailing behind with just a 9% win probability. Therefore, a bet on the favourites makes for a safe one, with Ladbrokes giving them 1/4 match odds. However, those wanting to increase their potential ROI can instead predict that the team will bring that dominating presence which they showcased against Chelsea and manage to keep a clean sheet. Ladbrokes are offering slightly higher-risk 11/10 odds on Man City winning to nil.
There’s only a single match between Schalke 04 and Manchester City from way back in 2008. That went City’s way with a final 2-0 result – the same as what we’re predicting here. That may sound like bad news for Schalke but it can also be seen as fairly positive. That’s because a decade is too long ago to really be much of an indicator in 2019. Plus, Schalke do have an advantage that few of City’s opponents can claim and that’s being a genuinely untested opponent. So, while it’s not great news, it could be worse for the home team.
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Players to watch: Salif Sané & Sergio Agüero
FC Schalke 04: Salif Sané
If we want to unravel just how Schalke 04 can defeat a team of the calibre of Manchester City, then we may as well go back to when they were last truly successful, and that was in their 4-1 victory over Düsseldorf. Not only was this dominant victory a surprise in general, but two goals from defender Salif Sané also shocked the world. A strong defender with a sideline in set pieces? This is exactly the kind of player to get Schalke out of this rut.
Manchester City: Sergio Agüero
Picking a player to watch for Manchester City is always difficult because the sheer amount of talent available means that there’s always several who could potentially steal the show, and often do. However, based on that absolutely sensational hat-trick against Chelsea, we are going to pick Sergio Agüero as the man we feel is most likely to be the difference maker in this Champions League clash.