You’re used to the situation: If the final isn’t supposed to be the only time you’re gonna hear the Champions League anthem in Munich’s Allianz Arena next season, a Bayern win is needed.
The advantage: This week’s opponent usually couldn’t care less about this match. Still hoping for a title win in the DFB Cup and CL paired with Bundesliga mid-table obscurity, Schalke would be stupid not to focus on the cup matches.
The disadvantage: This week’s opponent most likely will care a lot about this match. Not only is it the only opportunity to recover from the almost abysmal home loss against Manchester United, it’s also the last chance for them to punish Bayern for “stealing” their team captain/most important player/world-class keeper.
To put it in a nutshell: Manuel Neuer will not re-sign with Schalke and will not play abroad. Expect him to join Bayern for €18-20m this summer to sign a 4- or 5-year contract. If not, Jörg Butt will be used as a stopgap (though he’s not as bad as this may imply) for another season before Neuer joins on a free transfer.
Now to the lineups: Arjen Robben is back, Luiz Gustavo is suspended for a match, Danijel Pranjic is still injured (but might be back for week 33). Robben of course replaces Miroslav Klose to restore the offensive bank of four and Gustavo will be replaced by Holger Badstuber. Either Tymoshchuk or Kroos is possible in central midfield, the Ukrainian is the more likely choice. Barring a minor miracle, Schalke will miss Benedikt Höwedes. It looks like there will two changes compared to the starting lineup against United: Alexander Baumjohann and Hans Sarpei could be out in favor of Peer Kluge and Sergio Escudero.