Saturday sees the first Revierderby, or Ruhr derby, of this Bundesliga season as fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 go head-to-head at the Westfalenstadion in what is one of the most anticipated games in the German football calendar. With both teams currently lower in the table than many would have anticipated, the stakes have been raised ahead of Saturday’s clash.
The 2016/17 season is only a matter of weeks old but it’s already been a rollercoaster ride for Thomas Tuchel’s men who sit a rather disappointing 8th in the Bundesliga table but have showed glimpses of sensational form in a succession of high-scoring games. Injuries to key players such as Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Sven Bender have limited Tuchel’s ability to play a settled side, but with a number of exciting young prospects such as 19 year-old Ousmane Dembele and 18 year-old Christian Pulisic finding their feet alongside regular striking sensation Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who already has seven league goals to his name, Dortmund have seen themselves christened this season’s ‘entertainers.’ 30 goals for and against in only eight matches so far proves as much.
After a difficult start, Schalke’s recent resurgence continued last weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win over Mainz, moving Markus Weinzierl’s men out of the Bundesliga relegation zone for the first time this campaign. Schalke lost their first five league games at the beginning of the season, a catastrophic start which saw Die Königsblauen rooted to the bottom of the table. However, with the squad slowly becoming familiar with Weinzierl’s high-intensity pressing game, and new signings such as Nabil Bentaleb finding their feet, results should improve considerably as the season progresses. 8th V 14th doesn’t tell half the story as an exciting derby awaits.
Christian Pulisic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele were all doubts ahead of Dortmund’s DFB Pokal match against second-tier side Union Berlin on Wednesday after picking up problems in last weekend’s draw at Ingolstadt. Thomas Tuchel will also continue to be without Erik Durm, Neven Subotic, Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus, the latter of whom has only recently returned to training after five months out. For the visitors, Breel Embolo is set to miss the rest of the season with the ankle injury he sustained in the 1-1 draw at Augsburg. Summer signing Coke is another long-term absentee after suffering cruciate ligament damage
Saturday 29/10/16 at 17.30 GMT
Borussia Dortmund 1.44, Draw 4.50, Schalke 04 6.50
All odds courtesy of bet365 and correct as of 15.00 GMT on 26/10/16
By: Steve Paget