We are cutting down the waiting time to the 04 dual with 04 facts on #S04B04...
Six points are available in the last week of league action in 2018 – and it is the clear desire of the Herrlich team to keep the euphoria going to the Christmas period and give the black and red Christmas tree baubles a special shine. However, the boost in mood at the moment is something to be careful of – particularly with respect to the big game against Schalke 04: the Werkself have failed to gain a point against the Royal Blues in the last three league games. That should now come to an end – or as they say in the Ruhrpott region: 'Schicht im Schacht!' (shift in the shaft). Talking of which: As coal mining is coming to an end in Germany on Friday the Royal Blues will be wearing a special kit to say farewell to the mines in the area. The Black and Reds can also take the opportunity to say farewell – to the recent negative run against the Royal Blues. With a victory!
The Herrlich team have lost all five games against sides who have played on the European stage since the late summer. Now with Schalke in the Champions League Round of 16, the Werkself have to be on their guard as they face another one. Even though Bayer 04 have only recorded more wins against VfB Stuttgart (35) than against Schalke (30) in the Bundesliga. As already mentioned, the recent haul against Schalke admittedly leaves room for improvement – in particular with home games (the last win at the BayArena was over four years ago). Games at Schalke have proved more rewarding. To be more precise: 12 wins and 13 draws in 34 meetings in Gelsenkirchen – and the Werkself have gained 10 out of a possible 12 points in the last four games against the Royal Blues. They might call that robbery in the Ruhr. From a Schalke perspective: the average points return is only worse against Bayern Munich (1.1) Than against Bayer 04 (1.2). More illumination in the darkness required? No problem. The Werkself have only lost two of the last 12 league games at Schalke (six wins, four draws) and the last time was a 2-0 defeat in August 2013. Carry on as you are!
The Schalke fans join in with singing a German mining song (the 'Steigerlied') ahead of every kick-off in Gelsenkirchen. And they definitely will this time when referee Deniz Aytekin starts the game on the stroke of 6:30. This will be the 28th Bundesliga game involving the Werkself refereed by the 40-year-old Swabian - the FIFA match official has not been in charge of more games involving any other club. The record could be worse from a Bayer 04 perspective (12 wins, five draws, 10 defeats) but it could obviously also be better. Moreover: Almost two years ago, on 11 December 2016, Deniz Aytekin was also in charge when the Werkself played in Gelsenkirchen. Back then, the Werkself won 1-0 thanks to a Stefan Kießling goal on 89 minutes – perhaps that was a bit lucky. But whatever happens – luck is part and parcel in the world of the coal miner. In that respect: "Good luck, good luck, the Werkself are coming!"
Leon Bailey has been waiting for his eleventh Bundesliga goal since matchday three. The Jamaican winger came close to breaking that run in Frankfurt on Sunday – with his work leading up to Bellarabi's consolation goal. Last season, Bailey secured a point for the Werkself in Gelsenkirchen – he cancelled out a free-kick goal from Leon Goretzka with his first ever Bundesliga goal. In the following matches, the number nine showed his opponents what he could do. And: Bailey was also the provider in the previous week (with two assists in the 3-0 home win against Hamburg SV) before he scored at Schalke a few days later. A good omen. We are thinking of one of the first Batman films. Favourite working title for the remake: 'Bailey returns!'
Last results: 1-1 (A), 0-2 (H)
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberaspach)
Weather forecast: 9 degrees, overcast
TV broadcaster: Sky
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