Schalke kick-off their pre-season tour of China with a friendly against English Premier League side Southampton in Kunshan on Thursday (kick-off: 8:05pm CST/2:05pm CEST/1:05pm BST/8:05am ET).

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The Royal Blues are in China for the third consecutive summer as they gear up for the 2018/19 season, which includes a return to UEFA Champions League action after their second-place finish in the Bundesliga last term. Schalke are in the Far East under the motto “The Sprit of the Miners. The Soul of Football”. Domenico Tedesco and his side will face new partner club Hebei China Fortune next week after the match against Southampton, where Die Knappen will debut their new away kit produced by Umbro. The Schalke squad to travel to China features new signings Mark Uth, Omar Mascarell, Suat Serdar and Steven Skrzybski. There are also a number of youth players on board, while new centre back Salif Sane and last season’s top scorer Guido Burgstaller are among the squad members still on holiday after World Cup/international duty. Breel Embolo is still in Russia with Switzerland.

Watch: New signing Mark Uth’s top 5 goals

Compared to Schalke, Mark Hughes and his team had much less to shout about last season as the Saints only survived Premier League relegation on the final day of the campaign. Former Bayern Munich forward Hughes arrives in China with an almost full-strength squad, only Portugal’s Cedric Soares and Japan’s Maya Yoshida not travelling because of their World Cup participation, while new signing Mohamed Elyounoussi will join up at a later date. The squad also features a player with Bundesliga experience: Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, who spent a season on loan at Schalke from Bayern before leaving for England in 2016.

Squads

Schalke: Fährmann (c), Langer, Nübel, Insua, Baba, Stambouli, Kehrer, Riether, Naldo, Czyborra (youth), Wiemann (youth), McKennie, Mascarell, Serdar, Bentaleb, Konoplyanka, Caligiuri, Tekpetey, Geis, Boujellab (youth), Goller (youth), Kübler (youth), Uth, Di Santo, Skrzybski, Teuchert, Krüger (youth), Kutucu (youth)
Absentees: Sane, Harit, Burgstaller, Schöpf (all holiday), Embolo (World Cup), Oczipka (groin), Höwedes (considering future)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco

Southamption: Armstrong, Austin, Bertrand, Clasie, Davis, Flannigan, Forster, Gabbiadini, Gallagher, Hesketh, Hoedt, Höjbjerg, Jones, Lemina, Lewis, Long, McCarthy, McQueen, Redmond, Reed, Romeu, Rose, Sims, Slattery, Stephens, Targett, Valery, Vokins, Ward-Prowse
Absentees: Yoshida, Soares (both holiday), Elyounsoussi (joining later)
Coach: Mark Hughes

Match stats

  • Schalke and Southampton have never met before in a competitive fixture.
  • Burgstaller was the Royal Blues’ top scorer last season with 13 goals in all competitions.
  • Naldo’s total of seven Bundesliga goals was the most of any defender.
  • Schalke beat Besiktas and drew with Inter Milan on their last tour of China.
  • New signing Uth netted 14 goals in the Bundesliga last season – third behind Robert Lewandowski and Nils Petersen.
  • Charlie Austin was Southampton’s joint-top scorer (7 goals) last season alongside Dusan Tadic, who has left for Ajax.

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