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Borussia Dortmund vs Gelsenkirchen: Key Matchups

The mother of all derbys.

FC Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images

It's that time of the year again, black and yellow vs (non)royal blue.

This truly is more than just a normal Bundesliga game. This is arguably the most important game of the year, heroes are born and history is made. What sounds like hyperbole is in fact dead serious. In the Bundesliga this is one of the most hyped games of the year. The two most passionate fan groups in Germany clash and it's not just about those three points but also about bragging rights for the next 6 months.

The derby comes at the worst possible time for Dortmund, injuries have decimated the squad and the black and yellows have struggled against teams they should dominate like Ingolstadt and Union Berlin. Especially the defense has looked sub-par in recent weeks and it will probably be a concern going forward.

Gelsenkirchen is on an entirely different track. Their start to the season was abysmal with five consecutive losses in the Bundesliga but they have found their rhythm in the last few weeks being unbeaten in the last five games in all competitions with four wins and one draw.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Keeping calm

It will be the first Revierderby for most of our young guys. Because of injuries our starting lineup will once again be very young and lack experience. The fact that it is the most important game in Germany means that the yellow wall will be even more raucous than they already are. The derbys tend to be a bit more hectic and wild, Dembélé, Passlack and co. need to keep calm and stick to the gameplan.

KEY TO THE GAME: Defensive stability

BVB's biggest crux this season. Our defense has struggled to keep a clean sheet and the results have suffered because of it. There are obvious reasons for it, the injury crisis has taken its toll on our backline with Matthias Ginter being the only defensive player in our squad that hasn't suffered an injury so far. Asking our teenagers up front to outscore every single opponent is just to much to ask. With Gelsenkirchen finding their groove on offense our defense has to perform better.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Yevhen Konoplyanka

He's been on fire as of late. In his last two games that he played in, against Krasnodar in the Europa League and against Nürnberg in the Cup, he scored three goals and was the best player on the pitch for both of those games. He's a fast winger who can win one-on-one situations and either deliver a dangerous cross or cut inside and use his exquisite shooting-technique to score. Piszczek will probably need some help from the midfield to contain the Ukrainian.


This is a tough one. Weinzierl has rotated a lot during this season, using several different systems and switching players around. Even during their recent spell of good games they haven't used the same system twice in a row switching between a 4-2-3-1, 3-1-4-2 and even a 3-3-3-1. I'll go with a 5-1-3-1 where both wingbacks will push up high when Gelsenkirchen has the ball and fall back into a five-men backline on defense.

  • Formation: 5-1-3-1
  • Goaltender: Ralf Fährmann
  • Defenders: Abdul Rahman Baba, Naldo, Benedikt Höwedes, Matja Nastasic, Junior Caicara
  • Midfielders: Benjamin Stambouli - Yevhen Konoplyanka, Nabil Bentaleb, Max Meyer
  • Forward: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

PREDICTION: 3-2 Dortmund

Even though BVB is struggling right now this is the Revierderby. There are no rules, there is no momentum, they have to win. I just have to predict a Dortmund win and honestly with derby-hero Matthias Ginter in our squad what could possibly go wrong.