The biggest German derby awaits as Schalke host Borussia Dortmund in a heated atmosphere of Veltins-Arena on Saturday as only a point separates the two sides. The Miners have high ambitions, unlike the last season where their biggest success was finishing Dortmund’s title challenge by beating them 4-2 at home.
Ruhr derby is the biggest derby in the country. Two local sides met regularly over the course of history, with Borussia Dortmund just on top with 27 wins in the derby, only two more than Schalke. Tomorrow’s hosts will get an opportunity to tie the score in Bundesliga derbies, as The Miners have just one win less than Dortmund in the domestic league competition.
The revival of the fallen
After getting the second place the season before, the 2018/19 proved to be a disastrous one. It resulted in getting Domenico Tedesco sacked in March. Huub Stevens inherited Tedesco, but only managed to barely keep Schalke in the league, prompting an immediate reaction from the board.
After searching through Europe, Schalke decided to bring in an unexpected solution – David Wagner who left Huddersfield in January. It’s no coincidence they put 48-year-old in charge, as the German manager played for Schalke for two seasons in the ‘90s.
Safe to say that Wagner did his magic; 14 points in eight matches after the crash last season is more than anyone expected in Gelsenkirchen.
Ahead of the derby, Favre will have to pay special attention to Schalke’s Amine Harit. The Moroccan scored four goals, adding two assists for Schalke this season. The attacking midfielder can fill in various positions in the attack, making himself unpredictable. However, his progress in finishing under Wanger has been nothing short of extraordinary; the youngster doubled his total goal tally for Schalke this season, even though he’s played quite a lot in the past, too.
Alexander Nubel is also one of Schalke’s main plugs and a big German hope; the goalkeeper has all the characteristics you can expect from the German keeper, although he is prone to a blunder here and there, as it’s a natural part of maturing for a young goalkeeper like him.
Borussia Dortmund and the big expectations
After an incredible last season, where Dortmund challenged Bayern for the title until the very end, the expectations were sky-high ahead of the 2019/20 season, meaning that only a league title can fulfill fans’ appetites.
However, the guests tomorrow will have a lot of pressure on them, given that Dortmund’s form isn’t as good as expected, even though they’re only a point behind the league-leading Monchengladbach.
The most recent Champions League loss to Inter only flared up the discontent. Despite the negatives, Favre and Dortmund aren’t having issues with efficiency. 20 goals in eight matches ensure that, but the defensive part of the team is still the problem, even with Mats Hummels returning to help.
Dortmund’s average form away from home is hurting them too, as they only managed one win in four trips away from home.
Favre won’t be able to count on Paco Alcacer, as the Spaniard is struggling with the achilles injury. However, Sancho will return after his suspension and with the team’s leading scorer and captain Reus in-form, a good performance should be expected.
Goals Galore to be expected
This huge matchup is Germany is always taken seriously from both sides, meaning that they always want to take all three points, leaving nothing to the rival. It resulted in traditionally efficient fixtures, as 21 goals have been scored in the last 5 matchups between these two teams.
Schalke scored in all of their last six home matches against Dortmund. On the other end, The BVB look to redeem themselves after a poor outing against Inter. All of these factors lead us to believe that goals should show up in a big fashion on Saturday!
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