The first Revierderby of the 2020/21 edition of the Bundesliga takes place this weekend as Borussia Dortmund play hosts to FC Schalke on Saturday.

The mother of all derbies in Germany is finally here as Borussia Dortmund lock horns with their Ruhrpott rivals FC Schalke at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

Both sides come into this game with contrasting form, with Dortmund, in particular, desperate to bounce back to winning ways after being the only German side to lose in the European competitions in midweek.

The Black and Yellows did, however, secure victories in their last two Bundesliga matches and a win this weekend could help them put pressure on RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich, at the top of the league table.

FC Schalke, on the other hand, have been one of the worst-performing sides in the Bundesliga this season. They have collected only one point in their opening four league matches and are one of four sides yet to register a single victory so far this campaign, with only 1.FSV Mainz having a worse record.

That said, past records or recent form have barely mattered when these two teams have been pitted against each other. It is, in fact, Schalke who have more to play for, knowing that a victory this weekend could give them the ideal boost they need to kickstart their recovery following a disastrous start to the campaign.

And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two rival as they meet at Signal Iduna Park tomorrow.

Tactics & Team News

Borussia Dortmund

Lucien Favre’s woes in the defensive unit continue as Emre Can has become the latest player to contract Covid-19. He misses this encounter, though fortunately for Dortmund, Manuel Akanji is back from quarantine and should be available in central defence, alongside Mats Hummels and Lukasz Piszczek.

Thorgan Hazard and Nico Schulz are both back in team training but are unlikely to feature in this game. It means Favre may have to persist with the duo of Thomas Meunier and Raphael Guerreiro in the wingback positions, with Felix Passlack serving as a potential alternative.

We could potentially see one change in midfield with Julian Brandt replacing Jude Bellingham. The German was influential after coming on as a substitute against Lazio and his technical brilliance could help his team’s overall chance creation.

Giovanni Reyna is another player likely to start, after impressing as a sub in midweek. The American teenager is expected to replace Marco Reus in the final third, forming the creative duo alongside Jadon Sancho, who must improve his performances, especially with Hazard back in team training and Reus pushing for the starting eleven.

The Dortmund attack should be spearheaded by Erling Haaland, as usual. The Norwegian international scored the only goal for Dortmund in the 3-1 defeat to Lazio and will be desperate to increase his scoring tally this weekend.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Meunier, Witsel, Brandt, Guerreiro; Sancho, Reyna; Haaland.

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FC Schalke

There were many positives for Schalke in the last game.

Kilian Ludewig made quite an impression in his debut and may retain his place at right-back. The same applies to new signing Frederik Ronnow, who was one of the best performers in the 1-1 draw with Union Berlin. He should keep his place in goal, ahead of Ralf Fahrmann, who is struggling with fitness nonetheless.

Speaking of which, Suat Serdar will be missing this game for Schalke due to injury while Ozan Kabak is ruled out due to suspension. The latter’s absence means that the Schalke backline might remain the same.

In midfield, Schalke coach Manuel Baum may prefer a more attacking approach by deploying Amine Harit, at the expense of the young and inexperience Can Bozdogan. It should strengthen their first line of press, with Omar Mascarell and Nabil Bentaleb forming the double-pivot in a 4-2-3-1.

In the attack, Goncalo Paciencia has probably cemented his place in the side after coming off the bench to score the equaliser against Union Berlin. The Portuguese striker has the aggression as well as the work-rate to make a difference in this fixture.

The former Eintracht man is set to be supported by the wide attacking duo of Steven Skrzybski and Benito Raman, although Baum also has the option of deploying Rabbi Matondo or Alessandro Schopf.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ronnow; Ludewig, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka; Mascarell, Bentaleb; Skrzybski, Harit, Raman; Paciencia

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Key Stats

  • Mats Hummels is unbeaten in his last 11 encounters with Schalke for both Dortmund and Bayern, winning eight and drawing three.
  • Haaland has 22 goals in 25 competitive outings for BVB, and 17 in 19 games in the Bundesliga.
  • Reus has only scored once in nine derby outings against the Royal Blues, back in February 2015.
  • Schalke’s Benjamin Stambouli has not tasted defeat in any of the six Revierderbies he has played in, winning two and drawing four.
  • On Matchday 26 last season (16 May 2020), Schalke became the first team in Bundesliga history to make five substitutions in one game thanks to the rule change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Player To Watch

Giovanni Reyna

Gio Reyna will brace himself for his first Revierderby as he was only an unused sub when these two sides last met back in May, in what was the first match of the restart period as Dortmund secured a convincing 4-0 victory.

Reyna has come a long way since, now becoming a key component in the club’s attacking unit. His ability to take on defenders, combined with his seemingly telepathic understanding with Haaland could make a huge difference, especially against a Schalke side, who have shown no signs of solidity so far this campaign.

The 17-year-old has already been involved in seven goals in seven matches in all competitions this season and it will be interesting to see whether or not he can add to his tally, in this fierce Revierderby this weekend.

Prediction

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Schalke

Barring a 4-0 defeat in May, Schalke have had a remarkably impressive record against their arch-rivals, especially considering the contrasting situations of both clubs in recent years. But as mentioned earlier, past records and history do not matter in this fixture and given the state Schalke are in, at the moment, we are expecting a comfortable 2-0 win for the hosts.

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