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Revierderby Preview: Borussia Dortmund Face Flailing Schalke

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BVB face hapless, winless-in-twenty Schalke

FC Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

Fresh off a disappointing defeat against Lazio in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund have an opportunity to redeem themselves. It’s time for the Revierderby, one of the biggest rivalries in Europe, when Schalke make their way across Gelsenkirchen to the Westfalenstadion.

This is one of the most unique Revierderbies in recent memory because BVB are extreme favorites to win. Don’t get me wrong, BVB have consistently been favorites over the past decade or so, but never to this extent. Schalke have been downright pitiful in 2020, having failed to win any of their last twenty matches in the Bundesliga. This season in particular, they’ve gone 0-3-1 in their first four matches and look like they’re going to have to fight tooth and nail just to avoid relegation.

I wrote at length about Schalke’s demise here, and how I think it’s bad for both the Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund. No matter how much you hate them, you have to admit that Schalke are an historic club, and that the rivalry between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund has produced some of the most memorable moments in Bundesliga history. The Revierderby, perhaps only rivaled by Der Klassiker, is the first match we look for when the Bundesliga releases the fixture list every year. So when I see what Schalke have become, and what they’re likely to become if they get relegated this season, I can’t help but feel a little sad.

Now all that being said, I really hope that BVB absolutely pound them to smithereens tomorrow. Borussia Dortmund desperately need an overwhelming win, and one against their archrivals would just be exactly what they need to reinvigorate the squad and get their season headed in the right direction.

Lineup

We have good news, right off the bat. After Marwin Hitz started and underperformed against Lazio, Roman Bürki will return to the lineup against Schalke, according to BILD. He had a respiratory infection for a few weeks, and it briefly seemed like Marwin Hitz had taken over as BVB’s number 1 keeper. Thankfully, however, Bürki has returned and will be starting against Schalke.

Unfortunately, with today’s news that Emre Can has tested positive for COVID-19, he won’t be able to start for BVB. This means that we may see the return of the Delaney-Hummels-Piszczek backline that struggled against Lazio on Tuesday.

This is normally where I would predict a lineup, but apparently the BVB Twitter account has returned to giving their lineup:

There are couple things that I like about this, and a few other things that surprise me. I like the fact that Felix Passlack is starting at RWB. Thomas Meunier played that position on Tuesday and really struggled, whereas Passlack has pushed very hard to fight his way back into the squad. I also like Bürki being in the squad. What concerns me, however, is that it doesn’t include Jadon Sancho. Gio Reyna has been fantastic so far, but Sancho is one of the best players in the league, and ideally he should be starting. Maybe Favre will bring him on for Marco Reus, but I’d still prefer that Sancho starts instead of coming on as a sub.

I’m also a bit surprised that Manuel Akanji isn’t in this lineup. He tested negative for COVID-19 earlier in the week, and BVB seemed to emphasize that he would be healthy and ready to start against Schalke. It may simply be that he isn’t yet match fit.

It’s also worth noting that the BVB social media team ultimately doesn’t make the lineup decisions, and that this may not be what the squad actually looks like. It’s ultimately up to Lucien Favre to decide who gets the start tomorrow.

Match Prediction

I think BVB will bounce back from their defeat against Lazio. I cannot stress enough how bad Schalke have been. I’m predicting a 4-1 win.