Schalke look to cap season turnaround v Bayern in battle of the Boatengs | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.09.2013
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Schalke look to cap season turnaround v Bayern in battle of the Boatengs

Always a heated duel, Schalke's meeting with Bayern Munich on Saturday is also seasoned with the Boateng sibling rivalry. And Schalke are going into the game on song after their stuttering start to the season.

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The Battle of the Boatengs in Schalke

Schalke host Bayern Munich on Saturday in Bundesliga's most-anticipated match of the weekend. But overshadowing the normally-hyped event is the fanfare over Schalke's Kevin-Prince Boateng meeting his brother Jerome on the pitch.

The new arrival from AC Milan has been quick to point out that any brotherly love will be thrown out of the window come kickoff.

"For 90 minutes we won't be brothers on Saturday," Kevin-Prince said after Schalke's 3-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League this week.

(FILE) Kevin Prince Boateng (R) of Ghana vies with Jerome Boateng of Germany during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group D match between Ghana and Germany at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa 23 June 2010. Photo: Bernd Weissbrod dpa

Jerome came out on top when the brothers last met in the World Cup

The two are likely to go head-to-head quite literally - an aerial battle between the attacking midfielder Kevin-Prince and the defender Boateng would be par for the course.

"I'll try not to hack him down, but if there's no other choice, I'm doing it," Jerome told the Bild newspaper. "He won't be running away from me."

When it comes to sibling rivalry, the two are level at one win apiece. Saturday will be the first time they have played against each other in a competitive match in three years. At their famous group stage meeting in the 2010 World Cup, it was Jerome's Germany who triumphed 1-0 over Kevin-Prince's Ghana. In 2009 Kevin-Prince, on loan from Tottenham at Borussia Dortmund, got the best of Jerome and his Hamburg teammates.

Stopping Bayern

Amid the brotherly banter it's easy to forget that Schalke are looking for their first draw or win against Bayern since the 2011 German Cup semifinal. The Bavarian giants have been an especially painful thorn in the side of the Gelsenkirchen club in recent years. Making matters worse, Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the former Schalke captain dubbed "Judas" by the Schalke fans following his move south, has yet to concede a goal against his ex-club.

A few weeks ago you'd be forgiven for thinking that streak wasn't going to change on Saturday. Consistent in their inconsistency, Schalke started the season in poor form. The Royal Blues dropped points at home in a 3-3 draw against Hamburg to open the season before losing to Wolfsburg and Hanover.

The arrival of Kevin-Prince Boateng, however, has coincided with a dramatic turnaround in which Schalke have won their last two league matches in arguably their two toughest fixtures so far this season. The Royal Blues nabbed a 2-0 win at home to Leverkusen on Kevin-Prince's debut, and the man of the hour scored the winner on the next match day away to in-form Mainz. Add the midweek European victory in Romania and Schalke are on a roll.

Bayern Munich's French midfielder Franck Ribery (L) and Schalke's Japanese defender Atsuto Uchida vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Schalke 04 vs. FC Bayern Munich in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany, on September 18, 2011. Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

Bayern won the last contest against Schalke 4-0 in Munich

But Bayern are always Bayern. Pep Guardiola's boys have dropped points just once this season - in a 1-1 draw away to Freiburg - and remain the favorites to win on Saturday. The Bavarians sit second in the table, just behind Dortmund, while Schalke's last two wins have only managed to put them ninth. To make matters worse, Schalke have scored just one goal and conceded 14 in their last five matches against Bayern.

Kevin-Prince is adamant that table position doesn't matter, that Schalke have the talent to beat Bayern, that "anything is possible" in such heated fixtures, but it will clearly take something special to upset the Bavarians on Saturday. Maybe the battle of the Boatengs is just the trick.

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