Borussia Dortmund v Schalke – Signal Iduna Park at 17:30 live on BT Sport 2
Hold on to your hats – Saturday is Revierderby day.
Dortmund’s battles with Schalke tend to fiery affairs and this weekend’s match-up promises plenty for punters and neutrals alike. These two hate the sight of each other and Germany’s biggest derby match tends to deliver fireworks.
Schalke held the upper-hand in the Ruhr and indeed Germany during the post-war era but Dortmund’s triumph in the Westphalia Championship in 1947 renewed the rivalry between the two cities of Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen.
The Ruhr is the country’s spiritual hotbed and the struggle for local mastery has pitted the two massively supported clubs against each other, in a fight to be seen as the true people’s club of the region.
It’s a conflict that transcends the disputes between the miners of Schalke and the brewers of Dortmund that originally kicked this off.
At its core, the Ruhr derby is purely emotional, the kind of match in which sheer desire and determination can overcome any barrier. In terms of atmosphere and passion, this match is Germany’s biggest by some distance and ranks among the fiercest in the world.
Schalke make the 32-kilometre journey searching for an en eighth Bundesliga success at the home of their bitter rivals this century and after a nightmare start to life in 2016/17, the Royal Blues have found their groove under new head coach Markus Weinzierl.
Europa League performances have impressed and Schalke’s seven-point tally has all been picked up in their past three league outings, including a confident 3-0 demolition of Mainz last weekend. The visitors also saw off Nurnberg in a potentially tricky midweek DFB Pokal contest.
Weinzierl has options to choose from to. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s expected to be given the nod to lead the Royal Blues’ attack over Franco di Santo whilst the likes of Rahman Baba, Sead Kolasinac, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Alessandro Schöpf are all competing for positions down the left-hand side of the team.
Hosts Dortmund are winless in three league outings now (W0-D2-L1) and were forced to come from 3-1 down to take a point against lowly Ingolstadt last weekend. Thomas Tuchel’s troops were then taken to penalties against second-tier Union Berlin during their DFB Pokal contest in midweek.
Injuries have hit BVB hard over the past month but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should return here with Gonzalo Castro whilst highly-rated youngster Christian Pulisic and Ousmane Dembele are likely to also be given the nod in Dortmund’s XI on Saturday evening.
However, Marcel Schmelzer, Raphael Guerreiro, Sven Bender, Marco Reus, Erik Durm and Emre Mor are all definitely out of action. With up to 11 players absent in recent weeks, there’s no doubt that injuries and suspensions have played their part in the Black & Yellows’ recent struggles.
Dortmund have picked up just a solitary success in six encounters across all competitions and failed to keep their sheets clean in eight, so it’s difficult to invest faith in the home side at such skinny pre-match prices. Meanwhile, Tuchel’s troops have been handed -1 goal Asian Handicap supremacy here.
BVB have W21-D4-L0 in their last 25 at the Westfalenstadion with only Bayern Munich stopping them scoring but I just can’t shake the feeling they’re potentially vulnerable this weekend.
Schalke have claimed a solitary success in 15 trips to top-six rivals since the start of 2013/14 (W1-D5-L9) but have scored in 10 of those 15 trips and knowing Dortmund’s defensive problems, you’d back the Royal Blues to notch here.
When scoring, the Royal Blues only lost twice in six by more than a one-goal margin so it’s well worth getting with Weinzierl’s visitors with a +1 start in the Asian Handicap market at 1.96.
I’ll also have an interest in the 1.93 available on Over 3 Goals. Eight of the last nine derbies have produced at least three goals, whilst 9/15 (60%) of Schalke’s away days at top-six clubs have also featured three or more goals. meanwhile, only five of Dortmund’s 21 home Bundesliga fixtures under Tuchel have seen two goals or fewer scored.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Schalke +1 at 1.96 and Over 3 Goals at 1.93
Prices correct at time of writing.
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