It’s a match that needs no introduction: the Revierderby- — the biggest rivalry in Germany and one of the biggest rivalries in all of world football. While Schalke’s recent struggles have caused the rivalry to lose a little bit of its luster from a purely footballing perspective, the sheer spectacle of two local sides with massive mutual hatred means that it remains a must-watch game.
While the two teams are on opposite ends of the table, both will be absolutely desperate for a win. Borussia Dortmund are level on points with Bayern Munich in the fight for the Meisterschale, while Schalke are fighting it out just to avoid relegation at the bottom of the table. Not only will the winner tomorrow have the always-coveted bragging rights to a derby win, but the three points they gain will have massive consequences as the season moves on.
Schalke are no longer the total clown show that they were earlier this season, and are actually in a halfway decent run of form. Since their last defeat on January 26th, Schalke went four consecutive 0-0 draws before winning the next two games, bringing them out of last place and within spitting distance of safety. Any points would be absolutely vital for them, so they will be more than happy to add another 0-0 draw to their results list tomorrow.
Schalke came within a knife’s edge in the reverse fixture in the fall, when a late goal from Youssoufa Moukoko in the 79th minute broke the deadlock for BVB. Hopefully Dortmund won’t leave the winning so late this time:
Schalke Player to Watch: Maya Yoshida
Schalke don’t exactly have a plethora of attacking options, but they do have one player who is a seasoned veteran, and who has been an absolute workhorse for Schalke this season. The former Southampton man and Japanese National Team captain has already played more than 2,000 minutes, an absolutely staggering number considering there are more than 10 games remaining in the season. Yoshida has been a major reason for Schalke’s recent defensive successes, and will be the last line of defense against BVB on Saturday.
Unfortunately, injuries have started to rear their ugly head just as the season has heated up, so Edin Terzic will be a little limited in his options when choosing the squad tomorrow, especially on the attack. Julian Brandt, Marco Reus, Youssoufa Moukoko, and Karim Adeyemi will miss the game tomorrow, which means Terzic will have to go to the depth chart while continuing to run poor Sébastien Haller into the ground. Donyell Malen looked somewhat promising against Chelsea, so Terzic could probably reward him with a start. Gio Reyna also played fairly well against Chelsea, so I’ll give him the start as well.
While Dortmund disappointed on Tuesday, I think they’ll bounce back against their rivals. Schalke have defended well over the last month or so, but at the end of the day the gulf in quality between the two sides is still vast. I predict a tight match with a narrow 1-0 BVB win.