Union Berlin are not a team to be taken likely despite being Bundesliga newcomers, so FC Schalke 04 could miss Alessandro Schopf as an option out wide on Matchday 13.
After 12 Bundesliga Matchdays, FC Schalke 04 sit at fifth in the table with a tie on points with fourth-place Freiburg and only three points (one win) separating them from Borussia Monchengladbach.
This Friday, Schalke will have a chance to pick up three more crucial points against Union Berlin, who are 11th in the table but slowly climbing. Behind massive fan support, strong defense, and Sebastian Andersson’s goals, Union have become a dangerous team. They upset Borussia Dortmund early in the season and are coming off a 2-0 win over the league leaders last week.
The Royal Blues will need all hands on deck, but, unfortunately, they’ll be without Alessandro Schopf for another week due to a muscular issue.
KICKER reports that Schopf will be out for the Friday night match against Union at the Veltins Arena, noting that he’s still not recovered from an injury he picked up late in Schalke’s 3-3 draw with Fortuna Dusseldorf before the international break. He didn’t play in last week’s 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, with Benito Raman and Daniel Caligiuri starting out wide to support Mark Uth at the striker position.
Raman at striker with Schopf and Caligiuri out wide would be a better starting XI than one with Uth, but with Schopf out, it’ll be interesting to see if Uth’s poor form and Schopf’s injury force David Wagner to finally play a young star like Ahmed Kutucu. Schalke fans have been dying to see more of Kutucu, whose loan rumors were reassuringly dismissed by Die Knappen.
Schopf’s pace and effort on defending will be missed against scrappy Union, but Schalke should still have more than enough quality to grab all three points at the Veltins.