Schalke v Borussia Dortmund – Veltins Arena at 14:30 live on BT Sport ESPN
Hold on to your hats – Sunday is Revierderby day.
Schalke’s battles with Dortmund 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.
Dortmund make the 32-kilometre journey looking to do the double over Schalke having already beaten the Royal Blues 3-2 earlier in the campaign. Thomas Tuchel’s troops have already secured a top-four finish this season and sit 23 points ahead of their hosts in the Bundesliga standings.
Indeed, BVB are enjoying their best ever season for points accrued (67 points after 28 games) and that tally would have made them league leaders at this stage in 49 of the last 52 seasons.
Dortmund are unbeaten in 11 league matches (W9-D2-L0) and still maintain hopes of catching table-topping Bayern Munich. The Black & Yellows have outscored the Bavarian juggernaut but were surprisingly off-pace when welcoming Liverpool for Europa League duty on Thursday.
Did BVB struggle with the emotion that came alongside Jurgen Klopp’s return? Were Tuchel’s team tactically out-classed by the Reds? Perhaps there’s a small element of both. The men from the North Rhine-Westphalia will need to step on the mettle once more when Sunday afternoon rolls around.
Schalke would enjoy nothing better than handing a fatal blow to their bitter rivals’ lingering title hopes. The group from Gelsenkirchen are a point off the top-four and have aspirations for clinching a Champions League place but this match marks the beginning of a tough season run-in.
After Dortmund, the Royal Blues still have to travel to Bayern as well as taking on fifth-placed Leverkuse,n so failure to pick up maximum points here could have serious consequences for Andre Breitenreiter’s men.
Schalke have found little consistency this season and last weekend’s damming 3-0 reverse at Ingolstadt – a side that scored just nine goals from open heading into that encounter – worsened their recent record to just three triumphs in eight.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka remains a major absentee although Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, benched for the past two matches, could start instead of misfiring fellow forward Franco Di Santo as the home side go on the offensive.
I don’t want to oppose Schalke here; the Royal Blues do have a tendency for raising their game against the division’s elite – since the start of last season, the hosts have W9-D3-L2 when welcoming top-half opposition – and with Dortmund sandwiching this fixture between intense Europa League action, I’d prefer to look elsewhere for my favoured punt.
A constant Revierderby trendy tends to be goals, and plenty of them. Seven of the last eight head-to-heads have featured Over 2.5 Goals winners as both sides have scored in six of those contests.
With five of Schalke’s six encounters with top-nine teams this term beating the 2.5 gaol mark, as well as seven of their most recent 10 at home to top-six clubs, a repeat could well be on the cards.
Dortmund have delivered more than three goals in 9/14 (64%) of their away trips, with Over 3.5 Goals landing in 10 of their last 20 on their travels, making the Over 2.75 Goals offer at 1.77 look a handy avenue of attack.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 Goals at 1.77
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