Schalke v Manchester United Betting Preview – 27th April, 2011
This Champions League semi-final features two sides with seemingly contrastingly fortunes. Manchester United are regulars in the latter stage of the Champions League and they look to be on course for their domestic title once again, leading the EPL by six points with just four matches to go. Opponents Schalke 04 are the perennial “close but no cigar” side of German football, who haven’t won their domestic title since 1958. They have spent most of this season with one eye on avoiding relegation and have sacked their manager to try and do so. Yet these two sides have come together for this contest, which kicks off in Germany at 04:45AST.
Schalke have had a complete split personality this season, where they have varied between poor and mediocre in the Bundesliga, though they now look assured of safety. The dictatorial Felix Magath has been dismissed as manager and the more relaxed Ralf Rangnick put in charge. In the Champions League though, they are a different animal. They are unbeaten in 9 matches, having not lost since the group stage, and they scored freely away at Inter Milan in their quarter-final tie. Rangnick rested several players in their weekend loss at Kaiserslautern, his first defeat since taking over, and they could be without German under-21 striker Benedikt Howes. Rangnick has insisted they will try and be positive to take a lead into the second leg.
MANCHESTER UNITED PREVIEW
All seems pretty settled in the United camp. They have really kicked on in domestic football, with their previously sluggish away form starting to show an upturn before a draw against Newcastle United. They ground out a late 1-0 win against Everton at the weekend, and have time to recover with an early Saturday kick-off. Top scorer Dimitar Berbatov is expected to miss the game through injury, but the recent form of Mexican striker Javier Hernandez makes that no huge concern. They also rested Nemanja Vidic successfully. They have been dominant in away games recently in Europe, winning 10 out of 12 ties on the road, however their record against German sides in these latter stages is not brilliant. They have been put out in the past by both Dortmund and Bayern Munich over two legs, but they did beat Bayern, albeit late, in the 1999 final.
SCHALKE v MANCHESTER UNITED BEST BET AND PREDICTION
Schalke perhaps deserve more respect than they are getting, but United do look capable of getting away goals to put them on course for the final. We expect a 1-1 draw and will be backing the draw at $3.25 with SportsBet Australia – which looks a solid 4/5 rated selection.