DERBY TIME BOYS AND GIRLS!!!!
The Bee’s are taking on the Smurfs in what is sure to be a nerve wracking game no matter the score. Currently Schalke sit 9th on the table below household names like Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt. Last time we played Schalke, it was a tie that could have gone either way. However that game was in October where the team played miserably for the entire month. Recently, we’ve been back in form with four wins in our last five league games. Schalke have won two out of their last five league games including 4-2 and 3-0 losses to BMG and Bayern Munich.
BVB will be missing a few key players for this one. Schürrle, Reus, and Durm have been ruled out for the game. Although Rode has started training again he will also not be fit for the match. Tuchel said Pulisic is in the squad but did not guarantee him a start because they aren’t sure how he feels after international break. As for the starting XI you can probably expect to see the standard back line of Piz, Sokratis, Bartra, and Schmelzer. For the midfield, it could be a range of players but since Tuchel praised Kagawa and called him a good derby goal scorer, I’d bet he starts. Dembele and Weigl are also must haves and aren’t reported hurt, so they will be near definite starters. As for the others, expect some combination of Castro, Raph or Pulsic(if he is fit). Naturally Aubameyang will be the forward.
As for our game plan, hopefully Tuchel will go with what has been working, firing out the gate on all cylinders. Our last few wins have been the product of momentum causing goals and in a derby momentum will be everything. There is going to be a a lot of pressure on Bartra and Sokrtais to slow up any Schalke breakaways. Bartra especially has been pivotal in locking down opposing fast breaks and whether get Hinrunde Bartra or Ruckrunde Bartra will be a big factor. Weigl will also need to have a big day as he was exposed against Schalke the last time around. If Weigl and the backline can be solid, someone whether it be Auba, Dembele or Kagawa will find a chance to score.
For Schalke their game plan will be what most teams do against us, wait for a mistake then pounce on it. While Schalke doesn’t have the talent that we do they still have some impressive guys in the team. One standout has been Nabil Bentaleb, once thought to be a football burnout who is now one of the most important members of the squad. He will give our defenders something to worry about for sure and as an ex-Spurs man he is no stranger to larger then life derby's.
What are your predictions for the match?