Schalke: Ozan Kabak and 5 key players to watch against Leipzig

Ozan Kabak, Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Ozan Kabak, Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /
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FC Schalke 04 will defend the Veltins Arena against a team that aren’t just one of the Bundesliga’s best, but, rather, one of Europe’s best. Here are five key players on the Royal Blues to watch on Saturday evening against RB Leipzig.

Fresh off a 1-0 win over Tottenham that could have been by a greater margin, RB Leipzig present an extremely difficult test for FC Schalke 04, even at home. It’s a good thing, then, that the Royal Blues are getting two key starting defenders back from injury in Ozan Kabak and Jonjoe Kenny, as well as all-important center midfielder Suat Serdar.

The Royal Blues have plenty of quality and have homefield advantage on Saturday evening at the Veltins Arena, but they will be heavy underdogs against Julian Nagelsmann’s squad, which looks all the more dangerous after a couple of big-time winter acquisitions.

Here are five players who will be key to Schalke picking up at least a point against one of the Bundesliga’s prime title contenders.

CB Ozan Kabak

It all starts with Ozan Kabak, who has emerged as one of the Bundesliga’s elite defenders over the past couple of months. Schalke fared out well without him in last week’s clean sheet against Mainz 05, as FC Barcelona loanee Jean-Clair Todibo produced a sensational performance alongside the normally reliable Matija Nastasic.

But on Matchday 23, Die Knappen will need a truly special performance from a truly special player in Kabak in order to get something out of this game. Leipzig are a dangerous club capable of shutting down big clubs like Bayern Munich and Tottenham with their defense, but they also possess a scary attack with the likes of Timo Werner, Christopher Nkunku, and Patrick Schick.

Kabak will need to have the performance of a lifetime on Saturday.