We take an in-depth look at Saturday's Revierderby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund.Thomas Tuchel’s side have finally been awakened from what seemed an eternal slumber and are breathing down the necks of a floundering Leipzig side. Their Champions League campaign has started to show promise and they go into this Revierderby as the favourites. The rivalry between Dortmund and Bayern - dubbed by many as Der Klassiker – doesn’t get anywhere near the antipathy between these two clubs from the Ruhr region. And Markus Weinzierl’s side are in a decent little patch of their own that sees them also battling on the European front. But can they stop Der Schwarzgelben and their superstar from Gabon: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund | Saturday 1 April | Velsins Arena, Gelsenkirchen | 15:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Schalke 26/10 | Draw 5/2 | Dortmund 19/20
Markus Weinzierl’s side have been in a real upward swing, especially since overcoming fellow Bundesliga side Monchengladbach in the Europa League quarter-finals. Prior to the international break.Weinzierl’s side beat Augsburg convincingly before overcoming Mainz 1-0. They will likely employ a 4-2-3-1 formation that looks to negate Dortmund’s obvious quality in wider areas. It would be a bit too much of a risk to employ the more experimental three at the back. Holger Badstuber and Benedikt Howedes provide that quality and grit in the back while Leon Goretzka and Benjamin Stambouli will need to curtail the midfield running of Weigl and Guerreiro.
Schalke have various long-term absentees such as Naldo, Embolo and Baba Rahman. One fairly recent casualty that will cause some distress is the absence of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. But they still have movement in the likes of Alessandro Schopf and Daniel Caligiuri while Guido Burgstaller has led the line admirably of late. Their biggest issue is going to be dealing with the counterattacking threat that Dortmund always carry. In this, the 150th meeting between these 2 sides, it would be interesting to see if Klass-Jan Huntelaar gets a run-out at any point. He is the current leading goal-scorer in this fixture but has largely been peripheral this season due to illness and a lack of form.
Dortmund actually have a fair few injury concerns of late. Sebastian Rode and Sven Bender look set to miss out while Mario Gotze continues to battle with metabolic issues. The perpetually injured Marco Reus also looks set to miss out while Nuri Sahin remains sidelined. That being said, there is still plenty of quality in this side. First and foremost, there is the man currently leading the race for the Torjagerkanone with 23 goals: Aubameyang. His form has been sensational and it will be interesting to see if Tuchel is able to convince him that Dortmund is still the right place for him come season’s end.
Eric Durm and Raphael Guerreiro may be utilised in wing-back roles in an attempt to keep Schalke’s full-back’s hemmed in. Their real threat, however, comes in the front three. Christian Pulisic and Ousmane Dembele dovetail beautifully with Aubameyang in a free-flowing and constantly changing front three that is literally brimming with pace. That’s where Dortmund have the edge: pace. Derbies do have the tendency of neutralising many factors, but pace is one that will be hard for Schalke to reconcile should Dortmund get some front-foot ball.
Verdict: Matchbet + Both Teams to Score - Dortmund + Yes 18/10
While Dortmund should be victorious giving their recent form and superior quality, they certainly have not been shy of conceding goals in recent games, often relying on their flamboyant attacking players.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets