Manuel Veth –
Schalke vs Dortmund – Thursday, October 26, 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Both Schalke and Borussia Dortmund could, in theory,y take first place in the Bundesliga with a win in the Revierderby on Saturday. Schalke enter the matchday in seventh place, just two points behind league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The Royal Blues could have gone first with a win against Hoffenheim on Sunday. But a surprise 2-0 defeat meant that first-place, for now, escaped Schalke. Nonetheless, the general feeling under new head coach David Wagner in Gelsenkirchen has been positive. Schalke play inspiring football and even in their defeat to Hoffenheim were the more dominant team.
Under Wagner Schalke have been running, on average, three kilometres per game more than under predecessor Domenico Tedesco. Hard work and a high press, all learned under Jürgen Klopp as the coach of the BVB Amateure, are the foundations of Wagner’s football.
Perhaps Schalke’s only problem this season has been the lack of an effective striker. “We weren’t efficient enough to win the game,” David Wagner said to Sky after the game. “We played very well into the box,” Alexander Nübel said. “I believe it will have a positive impact [on the Revierderby] because we bounced back after our last defeat as well.”
Dortmund are also looking to bounce back. The Black and Yellows head into the game in fourth place just one point behind league leaders Gladbach, who they beat 1-0 on Saturday. That result was supposed to take some pressure off head coach Lucien Favre.
A disastrous performance against Inter Milan, however, has destroyed any possible momentum from the Gladbach result. “Dortmund are a vintage opponent with many good players, who play in schematics that were modern 20 years ago,” the Italian newspaper Corriera della Sera wrote after the game.
It is a character assassination of Favre’s football. Dortmund play to slow and lack penetration in the final third. Favre’s persistence of playing with a double-pivot of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney means that it is easy for opponents to dissect Dortmund’s play. Furthermore, Dortmund’s lack of a clear number 9 and the Favre’s refusal of playing Mario Götze have also hurt the team, instead, Julian Brandt has been pressed into an attacking role that simply does not suit him.
As a result, Favre finds himself under pressure and Sport Bild reported this week that Dortmund could make a play for José Mourinho. “We can’t dream, you will never have ten clear chances against Inter,” Favre said after the game. “You have to be patient,” Favre added.
The question, however, is how much patience will Dortmund have with Favre? “We don’t have a nominal forward,” sporting director Zorc said after the game. “We are looking forward to the derby,” the head of the licensing department Sebastian Kehl said. “It will allow us to make up for the game against Inter.”
Dortmund will certainly head into the game as the favourites. Schalke, however, have nothing to lose, because a defeat would be simply seen as a natural byproduct of the rebuild. Dortmund, on the other hand, have to win the game to avoid a major crisis for the club.
Schalke vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Amine Harit #25 – Schalke
Amine Harit has been excellent under head coach David Wagner. The slender Moroccan playmaker has scored four goals and two assists this season (he leads Schalke in both categories). A slight playmaker with a fantastic shot, Harit’s only downfall is his physical frame that often makes him the victim of more physical Bundesliga defenders.
Jadon Sancho #7 – Borussia Dortmund
Despite three goals and six assists in seven Bundesliga games, the magic seems to have somewhat rubbed off. Furthermore, the attacking midfielder was suspended last week against Gladbach after he returned late from English national team duty. What followed was a lifeless performance against Inter. There is a sense that Sancho needs an impact performance and what better time than against Dortmund’s biggest rivals Schalke.
Schalke vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- Against no other team in the Veltins-Arena did Schalke draw more often than against Borussia Dortmund.
- Of the 18 games played a third ended in draws. The other 12 games ended in seven wins and five defeats for Schalke.
- Schalke have not lost any of their last six home games.
- Schalke’s overall home record against Borussia Dortmund: W20 D14 L13
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Schalke vs Dortmund – 1-1
Schalke vs Dortmund – Lineups
Nübel – Kenny, Stambouli, Sané, Oczipka – Caligiuri, Mascarell, Schöpf – Harit – Kutucu, Burgstaller
Head Coach: David Wagner
Bürki – Piszczek, Weigl, Hummels, Schulz – Witsel, Delaney – Sancho, Reus, Hazard – Brandt
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.