Schalke v Mainz – Veltins-Arena at 19:30 Live at BT Sport
Schalke’s bright new dawn under 32-year-old coach Domenico Tedesco appeared to have faded in recent weeks but the Royal Blues upset the odds to pinch maximum points from their trip to the capital last weekend.
With the Gelsenkirchen club collecting a solitary point from their three previous outings, Schalke were winners at Hertha Berlin, admittedly aided by Genki Haraguchi’s red card on the stroke of half-time.
Poor defending allowed Leon Goretzka – from a penalty – and Guido Burgstaller to score the Royal Blues’ goals as they secured a rare away day success. Schalke’s victory was only the fifth Hertha had suffered on Bundesliga duty in 22 matches.
Tedesco might not have picked up the same level of media coverage as Julian Nagelsmann thus far but the clever boss is well thought of in Germany. Thought of as a more exciting coaching prospect when earning his stripes, Tedesco is trying to implement a very careful style in which the collective system holds sway over flashes of unpredictability.
Trust Schalke at home
Sure, the football served up by Schalke has been far from thrilling but the side is making strides in the right direction. Returning to the Veltins Arena should also be seen as a positive for Friday night’s fixture with the Royal Blues looking like a solid 1.85 favorites to overcome a -0.50 Asian Handicap hurdle.
Schalke’s only league loss under Tedesco came against Bayern Munich and if you exclude top-five Bundesliga opposition, the hosts have W9-D3-L2 on home soil since the start of last season. Such a strong return should ensure we get a good run for our money when terrible travelers Mainz arrive.
Mainz’s awful away record
Visiting goalkeeper René Adler almost gifted his old mates from Hamburg a much-needed goal, air-kicking in front of Aaron Hunt, who wasn’t quite switched on enough to take advantage last weekend. Adler did concede twice – Hamburg’s first goals since August – but Mainz managed to steal a 3-2 triumph.
The O-Fivers have always tended to be decent operators at their base in western Germany but new boss Sandro Schwarz has been unable to turn around their awful away form. Mainz have picked up a solitary point on their travels this term and fallen to defeat in 12 of their past 16 games as guests, netting just nine goals.
Schalke have won this contest in each of the last three seasons – including a commanding 3-0 victory last season – and should be favored to seal another success on Friday evening.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Schalke -0.50 at 1.850
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