Bayern Munich looking to end slump at Hoffenheim
Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich and runner-up Schalke both have struggled so far this season, and both are desperately looking to get out of their slumps.
Heading into a showdown at second-place Hoffenheim on Tuesday, Bayern has not scored a goal in its last three Bundesliga games - something the club has not done since the 1997-98 season.
The team's dismal start has left it in ninth place with five points, seven behind surprise leader Mainz.
"We have to continue our way. I am certain that the goals will fall again," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said. "It's just a question of time."
Last season, Bayern also started with only five points from four matches, but it went on to win the league and German Cup titles and reach the Champions League final. The team also scored six goals at the beginning of last season, compared to only two this time.
"We have to make sure that we turn the curve now," Bayern goalkeeper Hans Joerg Butt said.
Hoffenheim, however, is in excellent form, coming back to draw at Kaiserslautern last weekend. Now, the team will be looking for its first victory over Bayern after two draws and two losses.
"I don't care if it's a spectacle again," Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick said. "The main thing is we want to keep the points."
In Schalke, the team is off to its worst start in history following a 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund.
"It is my worst day at Schalke. But it's also one of my worst days in football. I haven't started a season with four losses very often," Schalke coach Felix Magath said. "The losses have left their mark. The team is entirely uncertain. I have never experienced the team like this."
At Freiburg on Wednesday, Schalke will be missing suspended defender Nicolas Plestan, who received two yellow cards against Dortmund. Injured defenders Christoph Metzelder and Christian Pander will also miss the match.
Mainz leads the league with a perfect 12 points. On Tuesday, the team hosts FC Cologne, which held Bayern to a scoreless draw.
"We are not done yet," Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel said. "The standings do not play a role. We have the highest standards."
Also Tuesday, Hannover hosts Werder Bremen. On Wednesday, it's: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Eintracht Frankfurt; Borussia Dortmund vs. Kaiserslautern; Hamburg vs. Wolfsburg; Borussia Moenchengladbach vs. St. Pauli; and FC Nuremburg vs. Stuttgart.