After being knocked out of the Europa League during the week, Schalke 04 will be determined to return to winning ways in the Bundesliga when they host Hannover 96 on Sunday, in a game Footybunker visitors can watch exclusively online with Bet365 (see below).
Huub Stevens’ men failed to progress to the Europa League semi-final on Thursday evening, despite managing a 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao in Spain. Defeat in the first-leg had already done the damage and they were knocked out 6-4 on aggregate.
Attention now turns to league matters and in reference to their Bundesliga ambitions for the rest of the season, they still have an outside chance of challenging for the title.
Sitting in third, Schalke may well be nine points adrift of league leaders Borussia Dortmund, but things can change very quickly in this league and a run of successive wins could get them back in contention.
Having said that, victory this weekend would consolidate their position in the Champions League positions, so they won’t be looking too far beyond Sunday’s clash with a Hannover side that sit two places and 13 points below Schalke in the league.
The away side also suffered Europa League disappointment during the week though – they were knocked out by Atletico Madrid – and their motivation will be to bounce back straight away with victory on Sunday.
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Looking at their form in the league, Mirko Slomka’s men have been extremely inconsistent of late, switching from defeat to victory in their last four games.
They did win their most recent league match though – a fantastic 2-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach – and this has seen them climb to 5th in the table, leading the way in the race for a Europa League spot.
Overall, this may well be a difficult game for both teams to motivate themselves for after difficult weeks in Europe, but the importance of three points cannot be underestimated.
This one gets underway at 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon.