FC Schalke 04 predicted starting XI against Freiburg

Omar Mascarell of Schalke (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Omar Mascarell of Schalke (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 will face Freiburg on Saturday afternoon in a battle between the fifth and sixth placed teams in the Bundesliga. Here is a look at the Royal Blues’ predicted starting XI.

The injuries are starting to pile up for FC Schalke 04. Benjamin Stambouli, Mark Uth, and Matija Nastasic will be out until 2020, while Weston McKennie and Salif Sane are longer term absences. Striker Ahmed Kutucu is a game-time decision against SC Freiburg with a bruised food that has costed him the last two games, while Alexander Nubel is set to serve the second game of his suspension for a horror tackle against Eintracht Frankfurt.

All told, Schalke should still like their chances of coming out of the Veltins Arena on Saturday with points against a very good Freiburg team. Schalke sit in fifth in the Bundesliga, while Freiburg are sixth in the league. This match could go either way, so here’s a look at the predicted starting XI for the Royal Blues.

GK Markus Schubert

One of the Bundesliga’s top goalkeeper prospects, Markus Schubert has acquitted himself well between the sticks in the place of the suspended Alexander Nubel. Expect him to have a solid day at the office against Freiburg, but he will be tested by the Bundesliga’s surprise team of 2019-2020.

LB Jonas Carls

Juan Miranda received his first minutes of action last Sunday in the win over Eintracht Frankfurt after Weston McKennie’s early injury, and he also started against VfL Wolfsburg at mid-week. David Wagner could rest the FC Barcelona loanee on Saturday and try to see what young left back Jonas Carls has to offer. The manager seems high on Carls, who has impressed as a regular for the U23 team.

CB Bastian Oczipka

Because of injuries to Benjamin Stambouli, Salif Sane, Weston McKennie, and Matija Nastasic, Bastian Oczipka will almost certainly start at center back against Freiburg. He’s played well at the heart of Schalke’s defense and remains one of the team’s most important players.

CB Ozan Kabak

Speaking of important players, Ozan Kabak scored another vital goal on Matchday 16 against Wolfsburg, as the team drew with Wout Weghorst‘s side. Kabak is one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga right now.

RB Jonjoe Kenny

A regular in the starting lineup, Jonjoe Kenny has been solid all season long for Schalke. David Wagner will hope that Die Knappen can sign him from Everton permanently at some point.

DM Omar Mascarell

The captain with Alexander Nubel suspended, Omar Mascarell is the beating heart of Schalke’s midfield with his composed passing and world-class defensive work. He’s one of the most underrated players in European football.

RM Daniel Caligiuri

Daniel Caligiuri was the best player on the pitch for Schalke at mid-week in his old home stadium at the Volkswagen Arean in Wolfsburg. His technical ability and experience will be instrumental in unlocking Freiburg’s defense at the Veltins on Saturday.

CAM Amine Harit

Amine Harit had a surprisingly poor game against Wolfsburg, but the Royal Blues were still able to get a point out of the tough road game. The Morocco international means so much to Schalke, so they need him to be fresh and at his best on Matchday 17 against a great team.

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LM Rabbi Matondo

Schalke should use a setup similar to the Eintracht Frankfurt game with Rabbi Matondo doing the dirty work on the left side of the formation to link up with Amine Harit and Benito Raman. Matondo is an incredibly talented young player who has all the character traits and physical tools to be a star in Gelsenkirchen. Ahmed Kutucu isn’t 100-percent yet due to a foot injury, so Matondo should get another start. He played well against Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund, so he’s ready to have a big day at home against Freiburg.

ST Benito Raman

The Belgium international is a guaranteed starter. He didn’t score against Wolfsburg and thus broke his streak of four straight games with a goal, but he’s been a true breakout star at striker for Schalke this season. Benito Raman means everything to the Royal Blues in the attack, and his clinical finishing will come in handy on Matchday 17.