Wolfsburg v Schalke – Volkswagen Arena at 19.30 live on BT Sport Europe
Friday night’s offering from the Bundesliga promises to be a rip-roaring encounter as 2014/15 runners-up Wolfsburg welcome a new-look Schalke side to the Volkswagen Arena. Both sides have picked up four points from their first two league fixtures but the two clubs arrive in totally different mind-sets.
Dieter Hecking’s hosts have failed to come close to reaching last term’s heights with below-par displays in their league outings. The Wolves managed just three efforts on target in their opening day victory at home to Eintracht Frankfurt before escaping with a point at Koln last time out.
Wolfsburg were second best on both occasions and with transfer speculation surrounding star playmaker Kevin De Bruyne showing no sign of abating, it’s hard to imagine Hecking’s men cutting loose. The Belgian has been a shadow of himself so far this season and missed a glorious chance to steal an unlikely three points against Koln on Saturday.
The Wolves do boast a formidable record at the Volkswagen Arena – not suffering defeat in any of their last 25 domestic home games – but I’m not convinced the home side can shake off their apparent drowsiness in time to justify their mark as 2.00 favourites against Schalke.
The Royal Blues are adjusting to life under new coach Andre Breitenreiter but the early signs are promising. Schalke despatched Werder Bremen with consummate ease in their curtain-raiser before dominating newly-promoted Darmstadt despite only managing a 1-1 draw in front of their home supporters.
The high-intensity and electric attacks favoured by Breitenreiter are a far cry from the dour football endured under Roberto Di Matteo’s watch and the new-look side has impressed Schalke fans. Julian Draxler appears rejuvenated, the summer signings have integrated nicely and Klass-Jan Huntelaar has enjoyed a relatively injury-free pre-season.
Question marks remain over the Royal Blues’ defence but with Wolfsburg failing to fire in forward areas, Schalke shouldn’t fear a visit to the Wolves’ den. I believe the visitors are well able to get at least a point on Friday night and we can back Breitenreiter’s men at an attractive 1.97 with a +0.50 Asian Handicap start. Should Schalke avoid defeat, we’ll be in profit.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Schalke +0.5 at 1.97
Prices correct at time of writing.
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