It is time for one of the biggest games of the year, the Revierderby. Our bi-annual clash with Schalke is a big deal deal for Dortmund in any season but this game feels like it carries more weight. With the Bundesliga title race being super tight and Favre on the hot seat, the consequences of a win, tie or loss are huge. For injuries Paco and Marcel are confirmed out for the match. Reus is questionable.
We are playing away so I’d expect that Favre will have our team play meekly, hell we even play scared at home these days. Our best case backline looks like Hakimi-Hummels-Weigl-Raph. We played quite defensively against Inter and still didn’t show anything for it. If we are to get a result from Schalke, we will desperately need Hakimi and Raph to not fear running far up the pitch. Hakimi especially has been able to make something out of nothing this season when the rest of the team looked out of ideas. With Hummels liable for bad mistakes and Akanji a shell of his old self, Julian Weigl is currently our best center back. Dark times indeed but him starting is a key to our success. Delaney and Witsel will probably start in the central midfield, unless Weigl is moved forward which is very unlikely/would go poorly. In front of them, we will see our best options of whoever is healthy. If Reus is healthy I’d expect Hazard-Brandt-Sancho with Reus up top. If he isn’t we will see Gotze up top.
Schalke are coming off a bad game against Hoffenheim, losing 2-0 away. They managed to have 11 shots that game and maintain the majority of possession but were careless with how they took their chances and let Hoffenheim play their game plan. To sum it up:they looked like we have looked all fall. 04 had no midweek game so their starting 11 will be fresh to go. Also their DFB opponent this week is Arminia , a much easier opponent then BMG. While this all sound bad for BVB, Schalke are lucky to have such easy fixtures with their current squad fitness. Weston Mckennie and Suat Serdar are both hurt. Also there has been no center forward who has really taken charge at 04 this season, with Guido Burgstaller their most prolific forward at 2 goals. Top goal scorer Amine Harit is set to play however. If Hummels or Weigl give up any bad passes Harit will be there to nab the opportunity.
The derby is huge for both of these teams. Things will get very testy and it will be on Dortmund to give up no stupid free-kicks. Our set piece defense is just so god awful that we must stop any chances we can, even if that means we let Schalke play rough with no consequence. Sancho will be crucial for this match-up. If we get peak Sancho, we should be able to dismantle the smurfs with ease, especially if Hazard, Brandt and Reus/Gotze are playing at their respective levels. However if Sancho is looking rough then his side of the field will turn into a blackhole, with the ball not finding chances to move forward and Schalke taking advantage of the hole to counter.
We lose this game and we go behind Schalke on points. We win and there is a slight chance we go top of the table. Everything is on the line. How do you think we should lineup this game/ what should our game plan be.