Schalke host Borussia Dortmund in the highly anticipated 100th Revierderby on Saturday as both teams fight at opposite ends of the table.
Schalke go into this game on a five-game unbeaten run. Last weekend, they beat relegation rivals Bochum 2-0 an own goal from Manuel Riemann just before half-time gave Schalke the lead before Marius Bülter doubled the lead in the 79th minute. The win lifted Schalke off the bottom of the table and they now find themselves one point from safety.
Dortmund go into this game after being knocked out of the Champions League in midweek after a 2-0 loss to Chelsea, in a game where they were very quiet in front of goal. Last weekend BVB beat RB Leipzig 2-1 to maintain their pace with Bayern Munich. Marco Reus opened the scoring from the spot before Emre Can doubled Dortmund’s lead just before halftime. Emil Forsberg got one back for Leipzig but a late Nico Schlotterbeck goal-line stop saved Dortmund from throwing away the lead.
The loss of Julian Brandt will be a big miss for Dortmund in this game. Brandt has been Dortmund’s best player since the World Cup break and it will be big shoes to fill for whoever may replace him. Similarly, Reus is also a doubt for this game due to flu, it will likely mean it will be time for players such as Giovanni Reyna and Donyell Malen to step up after they have failed to perform as of late. Jamie Bynoe-Gittens could also be given a chance to showcase his skills from the start as he has been a good option off the bench.
Schalke have been able to turn their season around and have become a defensively solid team, in their five-match unbeaten run they have only conceded once in their 2-1 win against VfB Stuttgart. The turnaround in Schalke’s defensive form has coincided with the arrival of Moritz Jenz on loan from Lorient in France. The 23-year-old has been a game-changer for Schalke and his battle with the likes of Sébastien Haller will be key in deciding the result. Whether Schalke survives or not, Jenz could quite easily be playing for a more competitive club in the Bundesliga next season.
In the meeting earlier on in the season between the two, Dortmund needed a late Youssoufa Moukoko goal to win the game in what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Dortmund.
GGFN | Jack Meenan